To the Manosphere: There is a Christianity you can Respect

It’s called “Confessional Protestantism.” It’s small, and mostly unknown, but it’s solid.

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The problem with contemporary Christianity is its liberalism. Trying to be popular with the masses, the church generally accepts the thinking of the contemporary world, feminism included. Being Christian, it adds to this mix a belief in Jesus Christ. But when the teachings of Christ conflict with liberalism, today’s church generally sides with the world, even if it tries to dress up worldly thinking in Christian clothing.

Today, many conservative Christians are theologically Christian but philosophically liberal. They believe in the Holy Trinity, and also in multiculturalism. They affirm that Jesus is the only way to salvation, and that we must stop making homosexuals feel excluded. They receive holy communion, and they protest for more rights for immigrants.

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The way to stop this nonsense is first to identify that your highest authority is the written word of God, the Bible. Other authorities can be corrupted, but the Word of God is a matter of public record.

This is one way Protestantism is superior to Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, at least when it comes to opposing liberalism. Although they revere the Bible, the latter two bodies place their buck-stopping authority elsewhere, whether in their Tradition or their Magisterium (the alleged special God-given authority of the Catholic Church.)  Traditions and human authorities can be corrupted, but the written word of God is a matter of public record.

And the way to prevent misunderstandings of biblical teaching (whether innocent or deliberate) is to give in written form the tenets of your religious tradition.  These are the creeds and catechisms that lay out in clear form the system that the Bible puts forward. The Bible is not, and was not intended to be, a textbook, but mankind also needs to have the important truths of the world laid out in a clear form suitable for instructing the young and refuting false teachers.

Not only that, but your church body must make it a rule that members will subscribe to the creeds and confessions. Affirmation of the truth should not be an option. Of course, some members of your church may harbor private doubts on some points of doctrine. But nobody is allowed publicly to oppose either the Bible or the creeds and confessions. The order of a society is publicly to be honored, for the good of the society.

And it is to be understood that the creeds and confessions have no authority by themselves. Their authority lies in being faithful summaries of biblical teaching, the Bible itself being the highest authority on account of being the Words of God.

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And there are churches that operate like this. They’re called confessional Protestant churches. These churches have male leadership, enforce church discipline, and stand unambiguously for the Word of God.

[That is, they do these things if they really subscribe to the confessions. There are churches which appear to subscribe to the confessions, but do not.]

And when it comes to issues not strictly religious, such as punishment of criminals, the status of homosexuality, or proper relations between husbands and wives, these churches generally hold the line against liberalism. They recognize that Christianity is a comprehensive system, and therefore to endorse the world’s overall system of thought while injecting a bit of Christ-talk is to betray the church’s ultimate Head, Jesus Christ.

Although it’s a platitude to say that even the confessional churches have been corrupted to a certain extent by liberalism, it must be said. Unless you become a hermit you will have to endure liberalism in this life. But there is less of it in confessional Protestantism than just about anywhere else.

And there is also the message of salvation in Christ, a message that all mankind needs to hear.

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A Catholic or Eastern Orthodox partisan might say that his religion solves the problem, whereas Protestantism is in disarray. But the basic error here is to fail to acknowledge that Catholicism and Orthodoxy are also in disarray. In the real world, where the religious rubber meets the road of life, the alleged authority of Rome or of Eastern Orthodoxy has also failed to solve the problem.

One might arbitrarily declare that theoretical Catholicism, the Catholicism that is “on the books,” is the correct Christianity.  And likewise for Orthodoxy. But this declaration does not improve the situation. Even leaving aside the question of which religion best carries on the work of Christ, we need something with an actual record of opposing liberalism and the other errors of the world. Confessional Protestantism does this best.

187 thoughts on “To the Manosphere: There is a Christianity you can Respect

  1. Pingback: To the Manosphere: There is a Christianity you can Respect | Neoreactive

  2. Would like to reinforce the “confessional” part of this formula. I’ve been to non-confessional churches and they obsess about things like the end times. Although the apocalypse-obsessed church I went to was strongly openly against “women’s lib,” and after Obama was re-elected there was a sermon that was as close to self-flagellation as I can imagine! Also, confessional Reformed churches, dry stuffy Calvinstic churches especially, where for example they do not allow portrayals of the Holy Trinity, are very masculine churches.

    Also, the Southern Baptist Convention interests me. Many Christians would call them “legalistic” because they “don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t chew, nor hang around those that do” and are the first to amass and burn Brittney Spears CDs, so to speak. I think that they are simply trying to save themselves from liberalism and have done better in this regard than the other mainline Prot churches in America. Legalism is the belief that your obedience accomplishes your salvation, and SBC do not believe this, they just believe that your behavior is a fruit and they are quick to call you out on your fruit if it is rotten.

    Lastly, one big source of resistance I hear from those considering “organized religion” is a fear of becoming a hypocrite. Yes, religious people are hypocrites, Christians are hypocrites by their own definitions. They break their own codes of conduct all the time, and then constantly need forgiveness. But think about yourself for a minute. Are you a hypocrite? No? Are you not a hypocrite because you have no standards? Are you not a hypocrite because your standards change to suit your needs or change with fashion? Are they firmly grounded in reason, or is it just as much sky-daddy style hand waving? It is easy to never be a hypocrite when you have low or no standards. How’s that working out for you and society?

    Yes, dear radically individualist modern reader, consider volunteering for collectivism, as there are scientifically proven benefits. Trade in your Brittney Spears collection in exchange for the Earthly and Heavenly rewards that often flow from church membership and Adoption into God’s Kingdom. I too threw away my Cannibal Corpse collection but I don’t regret it at all anymore and it is silly to think about how concerned I was about such petty things. It’s worth it for you and your family, and you might actually genuinely get saved while you’re at it (the most important part).

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=religion+is+healthy

    • With one slight quibble, I say “Amen!” to Earl’s comment.

      Slight quibble: Christians are not necessarily hypocrites. Strictly speaking, a hypocrite is one who claims you have to do it, but he doesn’t. But if your ideals are higher than your behavior, you’re not a hypocrite.

    • Earl, my impression is the independent Baptists are the more traditional ones. I’ve been to Southern Baptist churches that are like any other megachurch.
      The problem is you never quite know what the Independent Baptists teach. Since they have no confession, they usually say something like “we just teach the Bible.” The problem with that sort of statement is obvious.

      • Reformed Baptist churches are better, as they adhere to the London Baptist Confession of Faith and, as Calvinists, take Christianity seriously.

      • I don’t know a lot about Baptists. I know the Duggar family as seen on TV are independent Baptists. I’ve been to a local independent Baptist church. I know they take the Bible literally and seriously so I assume they either teach or would be open to traditional teachings about male headship, etc. I have a good friend here at work who used to attend Sproul’s church in Sanford and then switched to Reformed Baptist.

        I look for visible signs. Large families, female modesty, male propriety, etc. aren’t the point of Christianity but they’re distinguishing signs you can pick up on quickly that serious Christianity is being taught. Not being hesitant to call out sin is another.

        When Mary, the daughter of one of the congregants joins the Marines it should be shameful not celebrated. That’s what I want to see.

      • If shaming WMs (Woman “Marines”/Wookie Monsters/Walking Mattresses) is your litmus test, I’m afraid your going to have to start your own church! Pastor Bruce.

      • Earl, I suppose I was reacting to something I’ve seen not calling for public shaming. I have seen a situation multiple times when someone’s daughter (often only daughter) is announced getting deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan or to fly off carriers and it’s treated as something to brag about. This doesn’t seem a proper attitude for Christians. I hope I didn’t insult your family.

      • All it shows is how susceptible Christians are to Cultural Marxist inanities. The masses are feminine, they need a strong man to show them the way.

        Remember, it doesn’t take a majority but a determined few to change the course of society.

      • Bruce, it’s (female soldierhood, deployment, etc.) treated as something to celebrate and be proud of, yes; and no, that isn’t the proper attitude of Christians, you’re absolutely right imho. But look in the church parking lots and see how many “My daughter is a US Soldier” and the like bumper stickers you can count. 😦

      • similar to Andrew Wilson’s church in the UK
        claims to be complementarian
        yet praises a woman in his congregation for becoming an MP
        while her husband plays house daddy and official purse carrier…

        or like the first female NFL ref
        from a conservative church
        she provides and travels
        her husband looks after the kids…

        of like Ted Cruz
        claims to be Christian like his wife
        yet his wife insists on her career…
        and is only now helping him as he is so successful
        prior to that che insisted on living on the other side of the states for him
        so much for being a helpmeet
        and homemaker…

        or like the couple at my church
        where the husband seems to think gender roles do not need to be applied if he is studying the bible

        he cooks the dinners, does the homemaking
        sends his wife to work -NIGHT Shift at the hospital…

        I do not understand this

        I feel like I am the only one in my community who thinks this behaviour is counter

        yet they think God is leading them that way
        How does a God lead people into sin?!!
        also they sound so christian, and nice and how can we say they are not christian even if they advocate sin?

      • “How does a God lead people into sin?”

        He doesn’t; He can’t. But I don’t really buy into the old “God is leading us to, x” routine. These people just need a good scapegoat, and what better one than God, who can’t possibly be wrong? Lots of that kind of thing goes on these days, like, e.g., constitutional and historical illiterates telling us the founding fathers meant x, when the evidence (original source documents and so forth) suggests otherwise.

      • they beieve that exceptions are made if God lead them
        like Deborah was an exception

        also if I tell them that their behaviour is also sin and no different to acting on being gay ( all sin is sin – and christians are raging anti gay at the moment hence it really ticks their mind off)
        as that is a sin as well

        i AM THEN called an unbeliever…

        they make so many things up
        now expecting wife to cook food- dinner/breakfast, and look after the kids
        is a sign of a selfish husband
        and NOT dying to self

      • Terry, I’ve seen it announced in conservative confessional protestant churches (e.g. by a WELS pastor) as if it’s something to be proud of. The family probably gives lots of money and expects this sort of thing.

      • Jonakc, yep, lots of family dysfunction in the various churches, ain’t no doubt about it. And remember, these people are raising the next generation of “leaders,” within and without the church, so there ya go. But be careful what you say to them, brother – the really annointed ones will “rebuke you in the name of Jesus” if you don’t watch it. Ha, ha.

        Bruce, it’s shameful is what it is. All I know to do about it is to call it out for what it is in love, whenever the opportunity presents itself, and to teach a different doctrine to my children and grandchildren.

    • The more I read in the Manosphere, the sadder I become. The first chapter of Romans keeps coming to mind as the existential locus of most of its writers.

      “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

      The cause of this fall away from God, i.e. the Intellect, is clearly explained by Simplicius in his Commentary on the Encheiridion of Epictetus:

      “It is through the choice of pleasure as good that all of our errors arise, just as it is through the choice of the genuine good that all of our right actions come about.”

      The question I would like answered is how to speak effectively to these lost souls. Believing themselves to be clever, and lacking any form of education worthy of the name, they mostly belong to Plato’s first class of atheists, those who simply deny the existence of the Divine. As such, I doubt that approaching them with the mythical discourse of any religion would be effective in converting them to a civilized form of life. I believe that Stoicism might prove more successful in providing a discourse that might bring at least the more thoughtful among the Manosphereans to a place where conversion to a life of Civic Virtue is possible. Of course this is only the beginning of a truly human life, but as Hierocles reminds us in his Proem to his Commentary on the Golden Verses of Pythagoras, “And so one must become a man first, and then a god. The civic virtues make a man good, while the sciences leading up to divine virtue make him a god. Small matters precede in orderly sequence great matters for those who make the ascent.”

  3. Mr. Roebuck, Confessional Protestantism may be better at dealing with liberalism than the RCC but not the EOCs. I say this as a Catholic, but if you look closely the Eastern Churches have not had a successful separatist movement and support nationalism instead of actively undermine it like the RCC and low-church and mainline Prots.

    I think at this point our only hope is romanticism and revolutionary nationalism.

    • That may very well be true in eastern nations, but in the US, EO churches are, at best, too few to make a difference.

      And before romanticism or revolutionary nationalism can do any good, the individual needs to be in a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

      • An individual’s salvation is up to Christ and the individual. What’s needed is a forward-looking nation based movement committed to the elimination of the enemies of the nation and to creation of a new order based in local and national community.

        The Church has gone away from Christ and has whored herself to the world.

        Christ will come when He’s good and ready but in the meantime? It’s all up to us.

      • Svar, internal leads to external, not the other way around. And Providence is at work whether we recognize it or not, so it’s not all up to us in the meantime.

    • I don’t think the Orthodox Church is going to be a prominent Church in the West. We’re not going to have an American Orthodox Church anytime soon or even an Catholic or Confessional Protestant national Church.

      We can’t depend on the Church to stand strong on any of these issues when you have Pope Francis pandering to queers and browbeating European countries to let on the Saracen hordes (while our Christian brethren are being raped and murdered by these same people) or when you have the Evangelicals and Baptists caring more about Israel and the Jews than Americans or Middle Eastern Christians.

      These people believe in God and Christ and are good Christians but on a political and national level how are they helping us?

      Ultimately we are at the point where we need to destroy the prevailing order and bring forth a new one and the Churches will fall in line like they always do.

      But we have to be willing to do what it takes to create a cohesive and united nation.

      • I’m speaking primarily about the need of individuals to find salvation in Jesus Christ. Regardless of the condition of church, state or culture, mankind needs this salvation.

      • It’s hard to find Christ in a rootless, atomized society. And it’s especially difficult when Christ is the victim of a multi-pronged attack from both outside and within the Church.

        For instance, are you well aware of the Christ that is now being in the churches? It’s a more emasculated and hippy dippy one, not the actual God-Man based on His historic exploits.

        The Church will tell us to be more inclusive of the queers and of non-Christians like Saracens and hostile atheists (as opposed to agnostics and secularists who are more likely to join). Even more disturbing, is the pandering of the Church to the Jews, a people who do not hold to the ideals of Christ nor to that of the nations they inhabit. And for what? Here’s a story about Father Torquemada, who was of Jewish descent (like the Very First Christian and many of the first Old Christians):

        The Grand Inquisitor Torquemada urged Their Catholic Majesties to compel all the Jews either to become Christians or to leave Spain. To frustrate his designs the Jews agreed to pay the Spanish government 30,000 ducats if left unmolested. There is a tradition that when Ferdinand was about to yield to the enticing offer, Torquemada burst into the apartment of the palace where the sovereigns were giving audience to the Jewish deputy and, drawing forth a crucifix from beneath his mantle, held it up, exclaiming: “Judas Iscariot sold Christ for 30 pieces of silver; Your Highness is about to sell him for 30,000 ducats. Here He is; take Him and sell Him.” He left the crucifix on a table and withdrew; shaken, the King declared that the edict of expulsion would stand.

        What are we selling out Christ for? Judas atleast tried to sell Him for 30 pieces of silver and the King of Spain was tempted to sell him for 30000 ducats but what are we selling Him for? Just so we don’t get called an antisemite?

        We have to make a strong and uncompromising stand against the enemies of Christ, we owe it to Him for His sacrifice.

        I hate how the modern Church makes Jesus look like a pushover when in fact He was an extremely fiery God-man who was forgiving and merciful but up to a point. Even He promised that He will come back bearing a sword.

        There needs to be a balance, there is nothing wrong with the softer and kinder aspects of Jesus and there is nothing wrong with a man being so, but to erase the militant and righteous anger of Christ may not be a sin, but should be. In fact, it might be a sort of lying, but a lie against the nature of God, which makes it worse.

        On a smaller level, I am tired of singing disgusting songs in Church about how I want Christ to hold me and I am sick of people talking about Mass as intimate time with Christ (I have heard people do exactly this in those words). Christ is like a father or a general. I don’t want intimate time with my earthly father and if a WW2 era soldier said that to General Patton, he would have gotten the snot kicked out of him. Why would Christ tolerate such weird, creepy behavior Himself?

        If the Church is trying to appeal to the masses, it would do best to be strong, not to waver or pander.

      • Svar…

        Many of the “pool-side” nihilists do not get that “they” will be the “meek” who inherits the earth.

      • Svar, what planet do you live on? It’s because of that sort of nationalist stupidity that we have Russian “Orthodox” fighting and killing “Orthodox” Ukrainians and Georgians to say nothing of Catholics in the west of Ukraine who suffered the worst of the Soviet persecution, You’re really no better than the many modernist Catholics who just adore the East. Meanwhile Turkic and Caucasian Muslims recently filled the streets of Moscow by the millions to pray this last Ramadan. Where was the Russian so-called “Orthodox Church” on that?

      • Regarding Turkic or Caucasian muslims, those ethnic groups have been apart of Russia even since she expanded. A country like Russia has always had to deal with them because she’s always had them.

        Can the same be said for Italy or Western Europe or even most of the Slavic lands?

        You can’t blame the Orthodox Church for what the Soviet Union did to the Kulaks.

        Regarding nationalism, what other option is there? Non-Jews and non-gypsies thrive in a national context. Of course there are going to be quibbles amongst similar groups, let’s not make the perfect become the enemy of the good.

        Also, I may admire some aspects of the East, I have no intention of converting to EOC. Rod Dreher did it and he’s still the milquetoast he ever was as an Evangelical or a Catholic.

        I believe Catholicism is the only subset of the faith that truly honors Mary the way she deserves, but you don’t have to go Roman to be Catholic. Maronite and Chaldean might be better options, you get the Catholicism without the queers and the Lavender Mafia and Bertoglio.

        That’s not to say I am going to join those Churches. I’ll stick to being a disaffected Roman Catholic for as long as I can.

  4. Alan, I think in order to address the manosphere’s concerns a church would have to explicitly define, teach and require principles such as wifely submission to husbands, no divorce (particularly wife-initiated divorce), etc. Are there any confessional churches that do this? Does your particular church body do this? I’ve attended some pretty conservative confessional Lutheran churches and I never got the impression that any of them do this. They’re happy as can be when so-and-so’s daughter goes off to be a solider in Iraq or wherever. Everyone’s feminist.

    Where are these churches? I mean specific names of organizations? Where are they so I can join one?

    • Not every church buys feminism. Non feminist churches do exist.

      As important as teaching proper maleness and femaleness is, it is not as important as teaching accurately the things directly having to do with God. One should not chose a church only, or even primarily, because of what it teaches husbands and wives.

      If you really want to join a specific confessional Protestant church, I could suggest the United Reformed Churches in North America (http://www.urcna.org/) or the American Association of Lutheran Churches (http://www.taalc.org/), or the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (http://www.opc.org/), for example.

      But keep in mind that, as I said in the post, not all churches that advertise themselves as confessional actually adhere to the confessional standards. Caveat emptor.

      • There may be a weakness in having scripture as the highest Authority. That is the fudging of the most popular translations to obfuscate and distort scripture to ensue that their version of scripture conforms to the spirit of the age of which in this case is leftism:

        For example the NIV 2011 is a feminist translation of scripture:
        http://www.bible-researcher.com/cbmw.niv2011.2.pdf

        Done by none other than leftist entryists into the bible committee.

      • True, but there is no fail-safe way to prevent distortions of anything. Those who care about what the Bible really says will make the effort to identify the accurate translations, and those who don’t, won’t.

      • It is a good tool for decieving the flock who mostly do not suspect tampering from a respectable source.Personally it is infuriating that may end up decieving alot of people. Making what is evil into good and vice versa. Changing the very definition of right and wrong.

  5. Pingback: To the Manosphere: There is a Christianity you can Respect | Reaction Times

    • I don’t understand your comment. There’s lots of people who find it hard to distinguish liberalism and leftism from Christianity because almost all contemporary Christians are liberal or leftist. Most especially visible ones like the Pope. Why wouldn’t traditional Catholics or Protestants want to win these souls by showing them what real Christianity (Catholic or Protestant) is like? How can you know that they wouldn’t have lasted as Catholics?

      • I don’t think they would last long as confessional Protestants either, for what it’s worth. Alan’s is too narrow an appeal: I invite you to experience what I’ve found; I guarantee you won’t be disappointed as to ‘x’ subject about which you’ve been disappointed everywhere else. It is setting oneself up for failure, at least if one is looking for perseverance in a convert.

      • That’s a hostile and deliberate misunderstanding of what I said. The point is to find Christ.

        Note to those of you who are undecided about Christianity: This is one bad side effect of the Catholic Church’s self-understanding as the One True Church: arrogance toward the other churches. Notice that the Catholic partisans did not just say that I was wrong. They went ballistic.

      • To be fair, Alan my experience is it runs both ways. My Reformed Baptist friend I mentioned in an above comment refers to Catholics (serious ones not progressive ones) as “non-believers.” It’s hard to tell of course if he’s tit-for-tat reacting to the Catholics “one-true” claim but it appears that he means that someone who doesn’t hold Protestant soteriology isn’t a Christian believer.

      • Roebuck I am a Roman Catholic but even I acknowledge that the Protestant movement was a reaction to Papal excesses and it started out as a Reformist movement nor a separatist one.

        Why didn’t the Eastern Orthodox or the Chaldean or Maronite Catholics have a successful and popular separatist movement?

      • “But in my postings, the hostility is mostly one-way.”

        Yes I agree Alan. As I said to you before, I think you are at a disadvantage here. The readership seems to be heavily skewed towards Catholics. Lots of people to throw darts at your writings.

      • I think most of the Catholic readers are not hostile. But it only requires a small number of hostile commenters to make a big impression.

      • It is possible to disagree, even disagree strongly, in a relatively civil way. It depends on whether you see the other person as an enemy or as just mistaken.

      • Svar, I understand what you are saying. But the fact is that Protestantism is the manifestation par excellence of the spirit of dissent and division. It is not possible to unite the Church upon such principles.

        I think it is a plain fact of history that Protestantism is first-wave Liberalism, the beginning of the Modernist heresy and the root of the modern world. To entertain the idea that a return to some form of Protestant Christianity is desirable, let alone an antidote to modern evils, is to swallow the very poison that started the mess. I don’t mean to seem cruel or vindictive as regards Protestantism; but as a former Atheist and Protestant myself, it seems fundamental to me that (Neo)Reactionary thought must regard Protestantism as the genesis of the system it is rejecting.

      • CuiPertinebit, Modern Liberalism started with the Enlightenment not with Protestantism. The Church had some actual problems and the Protestant movement wouldn’t have gotten so popular if it weren’t for the Church sticking it’s nose into the business of sovereign nations a modern example of which would be Bertoglio browbeating Italians to take in more Saracen immigrants and planning on coming here to tell us Americans to take flood after flood of Central Am. and Mexican immigrants. The Eastern Orthodox Church atleast understands that nations have certain rights and that a cohesive social structure is important for a healthy nation.

        Also, how can you expect the Protestants to have any confidence in a Church that has had to deal with the Neopagans, Pornocracy, the Kasperites, “Spirit of V2” types and the Lavender Mafia?

        The Roman Catholic Church is a dying institution. Not to say that Catholicism in it of itself is terrible, just look at the Chaldean, Maronite and Anglo Catholics. They’re doing much better.

        I say this as a Catholic, but the Catholic Church has become intolerable and at this point, we will have to make do with just Christ Himself.

      • Also, reactionaryism is the wrong approach. Before Franco took over the Falange after the death of Jose Antonio Primo de Riviera, the Falange was a revolutionary nationalist and romanticist organization. Franco turned it into a reactionary and traditionalist one and put lots of faith in the monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church who after his death, ended up stabbing his barely cold corpse in the back and spitting on his grave. To this day, the Roman Catholic Church has refused to honor that great man who really should be canonized for his service to Christ.

      • It seems the Protestant Assertion is that man can imbibe Truth from the Bible alone.

        How this can then be claimed to have “birthed” the self-annihilating ideology of Liberalism requires much greater elucidation by those in the know?

      • Svar:

        The “Enlightenment,” considered philosophically and not scientifically, is the direct result of the Protestant Reformation. It was second-wave Liberalism.

        As to the thing currently calling itself the “Catholic Church.” I understand that it is emotionally difficult for Catholics to contemplate the reality of the situation, due to the importance that the papacy has, and that the institutions of the Vatican have come to have, in the Catholic’s sense of the Church’s identity (and hence in his affection and loyalty for the Church). But the reality is this: the Church only gives us Truth, wholesome doctrine, sound morals and pious practices. This is not to say that there cannot occasionally be a period of poor observance, or an abuse here and there. No one encyclical is infallible (unless a valid pope explicitly says so); no one canon is infallible; no one liturgical practice is infallible. But when the customs, canons, practices, liturgical texts, theological manuals and seminary instruction, encyclicals, synodal documents, homilies and addresses, etc., propose doctrines so frequently and consistently that the faithful must naturally consider them to be the doctrine of the Church, we are dealing with the infallible, ordinary Magisterium. This is far and away the Church’s normal method of teaching infallibly. It is the expression of the Sacred Tradition, which is inerrant. Many Catholics do not know that this is a de fide proposition, or, if they do, they don’t have an accurate understanding of just what the Ordinary Magisterium is.

        But we all know that this thing claiming to be the Catholic Church has become, as you say, “intolerable.” Yet, the Church can never be intolerable. So, to avoid a superfluity of words, let’s just leave it at this: one would be hard-pressed to find a consistent, “ordinary Magisterium” amongst today’s purportedly Catholic hierarchs. To the extent that there is one, it is manifestly not in continuity with the prior magisterium. It no longer uses the rites, customs, canons, catechisms, etc., of the Catholic Church, but everywhere undermines Catholic Faith with new rites, customs, catechisms, canons, etc., which are calculated to undermine the Faith and destroy traditional (i.e., authentically Catholic) piety. Sainted martyrs went to their deaths in the Reformation, to prevent things that now occur routinely with the sanction of the Vatican bureaucracy. It is all about the “brotherhood of man,” and the new, one-world religion of Freemasonry. This new church no longer clearly condemns heresies; it reserves its most brutal punishments for those who stand up for tradition. Kasper gets a promotion, Burke a demotion; the LCWR gets a pass, the Friars of the Immaculate get crushed. It is not possible that this thing is the Catholic Church. It is obviously an Antichurch.

        The key thing to remember about the Antichrist is that the Greek preposition “anti” does not so much mean “against,” as “in the place of, in the stead of.” Let him who has an ear, hear. Our Lady, at La Salette, Fatima, Akita, etc., has warned us of what is happening before our very eyes.

        Setting all that aside, the Church teaches explicitly that “In Ecclesiae autem membris reapse ii soli annumerandi sunt, qui regenerationis lavacrum receperunt veramque fidem profitentur, neque a Corporis compage semet ipsos misere separarunt, vel ob gravissima admissa a legitima auctoritate seiuncti sunt” (Mystici Corporis 22: “In actuality, only those who have received the washing of rebirth, and who profess the true faith, and who have neither wretchedly separated themselves from the bond of unity of the Body nor been severed by legitimate authority for grave sins committed, are to be numbered amongst the members of the Church”). Theological commentators on the encyclical point out that Pius XII, throughout this encyclical, confirmed the process of canonizing St. Robert Bellarmine’s thought on the nature of membership in the Church. Obviously, this is not because St. Robert Bellarmine had a great new idea of his own, but because he had so meticulously synthesized all the points of the Church’s tradition, and identified the core principles of membership in the Church – principles which Pius XII confirmed exactly, above. St. Robert was canonized in 1930, named a Doctor of the Church in 1931, and Mystici Corporis, confirming his ecclesiology, was published twelve years later (in ’43).

        To distill this process of the canonization of St. Robert’s thought, for brevity’s sake, the main point at issue is the requirement that members of the Church must “profess the true faith.” This is related to the marks of the Church, specifically that She is One, and this unity would be compromised if the members could profess a different faith. There had been debate, for a time, whether this applied even to material (i.e., well-meaning, merely mistaken) heretics. But the Church’s mind, following the principles clearly defined by St. Robert Bellarmine, had settled on the fact that, yes, even material heretics are out of the Church, if they are publicly heretical, based on the above-stated points. This is why you will find that the authoritative theological manuals published for the use of seminaries and even the Holy Office with Imprimaturs and Nihil Obstats, all flatly state it. Billot, Ott, Van Noort, etc., state the doctrine that public, material heretics are out of the Church as a settled matter. Leo XIII, who cited the universal and ancient custom of the Church, pointed out that the Church has always regarded those “who recede in the least degree from the Magisterium” (Satis Cognitum), on defined points of the Faith, as being severed from the Church ispo facto. Pius XII also points out (again in Mystici Corporis), that “not every sin, however grave it may be, is such as of its own nature to sever a man from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy.” Often Catholics get bogged down in debates over whether the recent “popes” have been pertinacious, formal heretics, and debate over the canonical process for removing a pope, if that can even be done. The fact is, even on the canonical level, it is all quite settled. But, apart from that, irrespective of persons, as a matter of Divine Law, the Church teaches clearly that public heretics, even if they are merely material heretics, and even if the Church never does anything about them, have in fact been automatically severed from the Church. Normally the legitimate authority in the Church does something about this rather quickly. But, living in the great apostasy as we do, and in the Passion of the Church, we find that the Shepherd has been struck and the sheep have scattered. The Church still exists and still has supreme authority, but the human element and worldly circumstances are preventing it from acting quickly and decisively, much as was the case in the early Church. It is aggrieving, to be sure, but it is the cross of our times, and we have no choice but to bear it.

      • I am confused about your use of Ordinary Magisterium. You say the Ordinary Magisterium is infallible. I have read that the Ordinary & Universal Magisterium is infallible. Can you explain?

      • Bruce,

        I’m sorry, and you’re quite right. I should have said “Universal, Ordinary Magisterium.” In my own head, I had taken it for granted that we were speaking about infallibility, and “Ordinary” simply became a shorthand for the Infallible Ordinary Magisterium (which is Universal), as opposed to the Infallible Extraordinary Magisterium. I apologize for the imprecision.

  6. Can you even believe yourself?

    [AR: Mr. C is one of the Catholic partisans I mentioned in the post, so his hostility is only to be expected.]

    1) The Bible is not a clear book on every point of doctrine or morality. It should be obvious that the Bible, being a written record, can be an authoritative witness to certain doctrines and certain facts of history, but cannot itself be an authority. Whatever/whomever decides the meaning of Scripture is the real authority, and the Scriptures are but the supreme set of data employed by this authority. It should be obvious that, for every Protestant, even one profession a particular Protestant confession, this authority is himself; for every actual member of the Catholic Church, this authority is the Church.

    2) The Bible itself nowhere teaches that it is the sole (nor even highest) authority, so Sola Scriptura is itself a self-defeating proposition. No man of thought and substantive faith can take it seriously for long. [AR: That’s because you do not properly understand it.]

    3) By what authority do you determine what the Bible is? Early Christians read Shepherd of Hermas, 1 Clement, the Epistle of Barnabas, etc., as Scripture, and rejected Hebrews, Apocalypse, etc. It is not a self-authenticating collection. You come, Bible in hand, and say “this is the authority!” I say, “Says who? How do I know that those books, and not some other books, are Holy Writ? Where is your authority? Who told you to use those books?”
    [AR: This is a mindless objection. I am preparing a post that corrects these errors.]

    4) The Church ran Her affairs for four hundred years without a Canon of Scripture, and throughout the entire time, had no sense – and could not have had a sense – that “the Bible is the highest authority.” Beyond the historical impossibility of this idea, Churchmen were trained in the rudimentary principles of thought in those days, and so were not foolish enough to believe that anything besides a live person or group of persons could be an authority. [AR: When the last of the Apostles died, only their writings persisted to be authoritative over Christendom. And there were many early lists of which books were Scripture.]

    5) You say: “This is one way Protestantism is superior to Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy… Although they revere the Bible, (they) place their buck-stopping authority elsewhere, whether in their Tradition or their Magisterium… Traditions and human authorities can be corrupted, but the written word of God is a matter of public record.”

    And immediately follow this with:

    “And the way to prevent misunderstandings of biblical teaching (whether innocent or deliberate) is to give in written form the tenets of your religious tradition. These are the creeds and catechisms that lay out in clear form the system that the Bible puts forward.”

    How do you take yourself seriously? What do you think the Magisterium is, if not the body that (in addition to giving us the Bible), interprets it, sets forth the Christian Tradition, gives us creeds and catechisms, etc.? At least our Tradition and creeds are attested already by the first centuries of the Church, by men with direct contact with the Apostles and the most primitive practice of the Church! Why should anyone prefer a creed or a set of tenets drafted more than a millennium afterwards by European humanists!? When I was a Protestant, I was part of the “no Creed but Christ” crowd, which, while certainly foolish, at least did not say in one breath “the Bible is the authority because human traditions are corruptible” and then, in the next, say “you prevent misunderstanding of the Bible by having some humans set forth your religious tradition…” The Fathers of the Church would have been shocked even to find women and children thinking in such sloppy ways.

    [AR: It’s not that difficult, Mr. C: The Bible is the highest authority, and the confessions are lesser authorities. Not that difficult to grasp.]

    If you think this is “a Christianity a man can respect,” I think you’ll be surprised how little attraction it has, especially for men in the “Manosphere”/Reactosphere, who are starting to think their way out of the palpably false and contradictory philosophies of the past five hundred years, called Liberalism/Modernism by the Church. Protestantism was the first and the mother of these and, as you’ve demonstrated here, the one most easily seen as false on the face of it. And this is on the simple level of reason; the man who studies anything of Church history will say with Newman, an ex-Confessional Protestant, that “to be steeped in history is to cease being a Protestant.” For the student of history, it is very plain: either Catholicism is the True Faith, or Christianity itself is entirely false.

    And in point of fact, men do not take Protestantism seriously; it has been used by men historically only as an excuse to rebel against an authority at which they chafed. Some men, through effeminacy, imbalance, ignorance, laziness or “niceness,” responding to what is divine in the Bible with a “zeal not according to knowledge,” have managed to take Protestantism seriously; do not take umbrage, I conclude myself under this condemnation. But for most of its implementers – Luther, Henry VIII, Calvin, Cromwell, etc. – it has been about rebellion and “liberty.” Indeed, for most of its followers this germ of rebellion against the Church has never really vanished, and remains a powerful impetus… such that we would be fools to deny that the precursors of modern degradation – the allowance of divorce, tolerance of contraception, “liberty of conscience,” etc. – were all introduced by Protestants who were “free” from that “man-made” authority in the Church. Gay marriage, recreational sex, the Dictatorship of Relativism, etc., have all followed as the natural conclusions. Returning to Protestantism would simply be to dial back the rebellion to phase 2, instead of phase 5. This rebellion has now played out, and we have been glutted on “freedom” – freedom to call sodomy, marriage; to call men, women; to call good, evil; and to call evil, good. This has happened – was spearheaded! – in confessional Protestant sects, who claim to believe the Bible and who in fact have catechisms and creeds that “prevent misunderstandings” about the Bible. I mean, for Pete’s sake…

    [AR: Ignorant libel from Mr. C.]

    The decision before the West is, will we die in this rebellion wretchedly, or submit ourselves once again to God as men ought?

    [Mr. C means: Will we submit to the Pope?]

    • Well, it seems to me that you haven’t really engaged with any of the arguments I made, which I think are quite clear.

      You say I don’t understand how Scripture can be the highest or sole authority. I was a zealous Protestant for almost ten years. So, I doubt I misunderstand it. But, go ahead: explain it to me. How is a book capable of being an authority, rather than simply an authoritative record of only those things which it happens to mention? When this book nowhere claims to be the sole or highest authority, and when it acclaims the Church more than once as being the supreme authority? [AR: The Bible claims to be the Words of God, not just a “record.” And where does Scripture describe “the church,” a word which simply means “assembly,” to be the supreme authority?]

      I say it is obvious that some authority must itself establish the Canon of Scripture. You say it is a mindless objection, to which I say: “Gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.” [AR: “Establish” is a vague word. If the Bible is the Words of God, and was superintended by God himself, then no other authority has the authority to make the Bible authoritative.]

      You say that when the last Apostle died, only their writings remained to be authoritative over Christendom. Says who? Where is that in the Bible? Name one Christian from before 1200 who believed such a thing. Again: “gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.” The opinion is without basis in Scripture, Tradition or history. [The Bible, being the Words of God, has a higher authority than any human institution. Simple logic.]

      You breezily say “it’s not that difficult… the Bible is the highest authority, the confessions are lesser authorities,” as though that were not the entire matter at issue. You seem to believe that the confessions are helpful “to prevent misinterpretation” (as your original post says). But, are the confessions actually helping us to interpret Scripture correctly? How do we know? What is the standard, by which we measure a better or worse understanding of Scripture? And on what authority? If the Anglicans and the Lutherans disagree, what judges between them? Does this authority even claim to be of divine foundation? The conundrum should be obvious. [AR: This is village-atheist level argumentation. Anyone can ask “How do you know?” I could ask you then same thing: How do you know that your Catholic authorities know what they’re talking about? Saying “Because God ordained the Catholic authorities” is a non-answer: How do you know that God really ordained them, rather than this just being Romanist self-aggrandizement?]

      You characterize my characterization of Protestant history as ignorant libel. I’ll leave it to readers to decide whether or not Protestantism was popular among certain princes (and others) primarily as an excuse to engage in the political, romantic and economical enterprises the authority of the Church had otherwise denied them.

      Finally, no: God, no, I don’t mean we should submit to Bergoglio. I mean we should submit to the Catholic Faith. The Catholic Faith has always held that we should regard heretics – even material ones, if they are publicly so – as alien to the Body of the Church, no matter how fancy their hats may be. If we had an orthodox man, validly consecrated a bishop and elected canonically to the See of Rome, indeed we should respect and honor him as the chief prelate of the Church; we should trust his decrees so long as he did not err from already defined points of divine and Catholic Faith, and did not counsel or command us to do anything contrary to morals. The Pope has a critically important position in the Church, but I can say from personal experience that those who are not well-versed in the Catholic Magisterium – including many Catholics! – actually have a very exaggerated view of his importance. [AR: At least you have the sense not to respect the current Pope.]

      • I’ve made the points I think it was important to make, and I think honest observers will be able to draw their own conclusions. Only two things you say warrant further comment at the moment, in my judgment.

        First, you said: “The single item that distinguishes Christianity from all other systems of religion is justification (God’s declaration that the sinner is not guilty) by faith alone. This is only to be expected, because the default religious belief of mankind is that one must jump through religious hoops in order to be approved by God.”

        You gravely err in two ways. First: there is only one verse in the entire Bible where “faith” and “alone” occur together: “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith alone” (James 2:24). This verse should be enough to cause grave misgivings about your purported key to the distinctness of the Christian “system,” especially for folk who claim to be Bible-believers; it is a plain statement of the Scriptures, precisely contradicting your erroneous exposition of the Christian Faith.

        In actual fact, man is saved by grace, through (i.e., by means of) faith; faith is not merely intellectual belief (“even the demons believe, and tremble” James 2:19), but trusting obedience towards God; the first movement of faith, then, if it actually be such a faith, becomes the principle of our cooperation with God in salvation, and God reckons it to us for justification (as with Abraham); if our “faith” were mere intellectual assent without a trusting obedience towards God, without the serious intent of doing His will, it would not merit the name of faith (“faith without works is dead” James 2:26); faith therefore necessarily obeys God by persevering in the fulfillment of His commandments and remaining intent upon good works, even though works themselves cannot merit justification as a remuneration – as if God were obliged to man for his bounden service (cf. Eph. 2:9; Luke 17:10)! The first commandment God gives to the Christian, is to receive the washing of regeneration and so be joined to the Body; hence, Baptism itself is discussed by the Scriptures as a definitive moment in personal salvation.

        This is the ubiquitous teaching of St. Paul, all Scripture and the Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church – i.e., not “by faith alone” (which Scripture itself reprobates), but “by grace, through faith,” assuming the faith is a living one. In English, “by faith” is ambiguous – it can mean “faith is the means unto salvation” or it can mean “faith itself saves;” in Greek it is very clear: faith is the means by which you participate in salvation. Grace, through faith, saves man; and grace is direct participation in the divine nature – i.e., God Himself saves man by means of Himself; to think that even faith could be meritorious of justification, would be to make God your debtor. This is why the Catholic Church does, in fact, teach that men can be saved even apart from baptism and visible corporation into the visible Church, by a real and genuine faith. Because real faith contains by necessity the desire to turn away from one’s former life and towards God, the Church acknowledges that, in some circumstances, sincere repentance (perfect contrition) and the yielding of faith (trusting obedience) to God, suffices to justify a man (since it contains at least the implicit desire for Baptism and incorporation into the Church), if he has no further knowledge of what he must do. But if a man, knowing that Baptism and incorporation into the Church were necessary to fully obey God, nonetheless refused to participate in them, this would indicate that his faith was dead – i.e., not really faith.

        Second, Christianity is not a system, it is a Church. You asked me, predictably, why my claim of Catholic authority was any more believable than your claim of Scriptural authority. Apart from the obvious appeal to reason that only a living authority makes authoritative judgments and proposes a definitive interpretation of any text, the fact is that the Scriptures themselves record that Christ said “I will establish my Church,” rather than “I will explain my system,” and all of the witnesses of Christian history indicate that this is exactly how the first Christians understood the Faith they had so freshly received from the Apostles: as a communion in a Body whose defining marks were One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, sustained upon the Mysteries and governed by apostolic prelates. Faith is the gift of God. Neither you nor I were present from the beginning, so we must accept both the divine establishment of the Church and the divine authorship of the Scriptures on the grounds of faith. But the difference, is that your Scriptures come to you on the good word of a group of men, whose Tradition and organization is, historically, in unbroken succession with the Catholic Faith. You need to explain why you trust their testimony to the books, if you distrust their testimony on everything else, and that is still to say nothing about the absurdity of Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide in the first place. These are late, neo-gnostic, printing-press era ideas.

        For me, it is all in one, harmonious piece. You ask where Scripture commends the Church as an authority. Our Lord says “If he will not hear them, tell it to the Church; and if he will not hear the Church, let him be to you as the heathen and tax collector.” Or again, St. Paul calls “the Church, the Foundation and Pillar of Truth.” You hint that the Greek for “Church” is merely “assembly.” Well, “Scripture interprets Scripture,” I always heard as a Protestant: is “the assembly” likely to be the Pillar and Foundation of Truth? Did our Lord mean to say “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my assembly?” Or, “I will build my assembly, and the gates of Hell will never overcome it?” I’d say the Scriptures give strong indications that “assembly” has been used to denote something more substantial, for their purpose; Jesus wasn’t building a community center or a 501(c)3. Although, this is another proof of the importance of Tradition in interpreting Scripture, since without some kind of context, you don’t – and you CAN’T – know for certain how terms like “assembly,” “overseer,” “presbyter,” “deacon,” etc., are being used by the first Christians.

        So, if it is wrong to describe Christianity as a “system,” and if your key to this “system” (Faith Alone) was seen to be so shoddy, how would I describe the Christian Faith?

        Christianity puts man into direct contact with the divine nature; the Divinity became man in Jesus Christ, and now makes men partakers of His divine nature, lavishing upon us a grace so extravagant that any claim to merit justification is put to shame, especially when considered alongside the infinite friendship and exaltation poured out so richly upon our humility. It stands apart from all other religions by insisting at one and the same time upon the extreme inability of man to propitiate or conciliate the Deity, which all other religions find repugnantly pessimistic, while nevertheless extending an intimacy of commingled being with God, of such intensity and profundity that all other religions regard it as an insane, even blasphemous, optimism. The God-Man incorporates us into His Body, the Church; He anoints us with the sacred Chrism and pours forth upon us the Holy Spirit; He makes us to be “other Christs;” He founds the Church, which He has divinely constituted as His own Body, having His own authority, upon the Apostles with Peter as their chief; He entrusts all His Mysteries to them, and ordains them, endowing them with His own authority and mission (“entellomai” is the Greek term expressing all this); thusly we are all incorporated into no merely human institution, but a living and Divine Institution, which speaks with the authoritative voice of God upon earth, in which all are members of God and the prelates govern with the authority of Christ-God; again, in which all are suffused with the deifying grace of God, are nourished on the Body and Blood of God, and sail through the wickedness of the ages as in a Divine Ark of Salvation, outside of which nobody may be saved from the coming wrath. That, is the Christian Faith.

      • First: there is only one verse in the entire Bible where “faith” and “alone” occur together: “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith alone” (James 2:24). This verse should be enough to cause grave misgivings about your purported key to the distinctness of the Christian “system,” especially for folk who claim to be Bible-believers; it is a plain statement of the Scriptures, precisely contradicting your erroneous exposition of the Christian Faith.

        There are many verses that refer to justification by faith alone. I will cite just two:

        Genesis 15:6: “And he [Abraham] believed the Lord, and he [God] counted it to him as righteousness.”

        As clarified by Paul in Romans 4:1—5: “What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,..”

        “Not working” means faith alone justifies.

        Ephesians 2:8—9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

        Furthermore, the word “justified” has two basic meanings, and one of them is “demonstrated.” James says that our works prove our faith.

        …faith therefore necessarily obeys God by persevering in the fulfillment of His commandments and remaining intent upon good works,…

        Since Scripture makes it clear that even Christians continue to sin (see e.g., I John 1:8—10), this assertion is misleading at best.

        Baptism itself is discussed by the Scriptures as a definitive moment in personal salvation.

        True. It is justification (God’s declaration that we are not guilty of sin) is by faith alone, but salvation is a package deal that includes more than just justification.

        But if a man, knowing that Baptism and incorporation into the Church were necessary to fully obey God, nonetheless refused to participate in them, this would indicate that his faith was dead – i.e., not really faith.

        Agreed, except that the Capital-C Church needs to be changed to the lower-case church. Not the Roman Catholic Church, but the correct, Protestant, church.

        Christianity is not a system, it is a Church…. the Scriptures themselves record that Christ said “I will establish my Church,” rather than “I will explain my system,…

        Christianity is both a church and a system. It is a system in that Christ delivered a definite body of doctrine that He expects his followers to know, believe and follow. And it is a (lower-case) church in the sense that it is an organized body of local assemblies, often organized into larger denominational groups.

        As to your claim that Christ said “I will establish my Capital-C, Roman Catholic, headquartered-at-the-Vatican-and-led-by-the-Pope, Church,…” All I will say here is that the claim is highly dubious.

        …your Scriptures come to you on the good word of a group of men, whose Tradition and organization is, historically, in unbroken succession with the Catholic Faith.

        The Fathers who testified to the canonicity of the books of Scripture, and the Christian tradition that supplied the framework of understanding, were not within the Capital-C, Roman Catholic, headquartered-at-the-Vatican-and-led-by-the-Pope, Church. The canon of Scripture was established by God, when he inspired just those books we know to be Scripture. The church identified Scripture, but it did not create or authorize it.

        That, is the Christian Faith.

        I agree with just about everything you said there. But you are assuming that the Christian Faith is the Capital-C, Roman Catholic, headquartered-at-the-Vatican-and-led-by-the-Pope, Church. No it is not.

      • Alan,
        My understanding is that the not justified by works verses are references to the Jewish law. The early Christians were largely Jewish (all the apostles, all but one NT author, many (most?) laity) and even the gentile Christian communities were intimately familiar with Judaism and understood Christianity is a Jewish offshoot. So the not by works verses do not disprove Catholic/Orthodox theology. But I am open to correction by more learned Christians yourself included.

      • Short answer: Most of the epistles were written to non-Jewish congregations, and most of the contexts are not referring to Jewish law (the old covenant). Also, Genesis 15:6, which Paul cites and expands upon in Romans 4, predates Jewish law.

      • Non-Jewish congregations who I assume were intimately familiar with the Jewish background of Christianity.
        The young man asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus said keep the commandments and give up his life (riches in this case) to follow (obey) Him. This suggests the trusting obedience that Cui described. Jesus said it is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. A rich man can believe and a rich man can trust he is saved just as easily as a poor man. It is harder for a rich man to obey.
        Even after Abraham believed in Gen 15:6 God tested his obedience.

      • If anyone keeps the commandments, then he can earn Heaven on his own, for God is just. But Scripture also says that all have sinned, so nobody can merit Heaven on his own.

        Besides, you suggested that “not justified by works” means “not justified by keeping the special laws that God intended for Jews only,” such as offering the right sacrifices, getting circumcised, and eating only kosher food. I was pointing out that “works” encompasses all the laws that God has given mankind.

      • There are many verses that refer to justification by faith alone. I will cite just two:
        Genesis 15:6: “And he [Abraham] believed the Lord, and he [God] counted it to him as righteousness.”

        As clarified by Paul in Romans 4:1—5: “What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,..”

        “Not working” means faith alone justifies.

        Ephesians 2:8—9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

        I’m afraid this fails, and this is precisely why Christ instituted a Church with the authority to excommunicate and teach authoritatively as the Pillar and Bulwark of Truth; many people are not keen enough to follow arguments, or are perverse enough to stubbornly adhere to unreasonable opinions, wherefore the Church’s authoritative voice exists, so that those who err innocently may not be at the mercy of every wind of doctrine, and those who err perversely may be manifestly condemned.

        There are two, main errors. First, St. James states flatly – explicitly – that we are not justified by faith alone, but by means of works (“Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith alone?” – James 2:24). Your verses, however, are not explicit – and so, to defend an opinion which is manifestly contrary to the explicit teaching of Holy Writ, you coax out the “implications” of your texts. But in fact, there is a perfectly reasonable interpretation of the verses you give, which does not contradict the explicit teaching of St. James, is consistent with the whole of Scripture and the interpretation of the Holy Fathers, and for some inexplicable reason happens also to be the teaching of the Holy Catholic Church!

        It is quite simple. To the man who “believes,” without any firm intent to entrust himself to God in indebted obedience, such “faith ” is not reckoned as faith at all, but as empty belief: “even the demons believe, and tremble.” To the man who puts his faith in God – i.e., who believes God and trusts himself to God with the intent to obey Him in whatever He asks – such belief is truly faith and yes, the Catholic Church has taught from the Apostles until now, that this faith becomes for him the principle of salvation and binds him to the Church by invisible ties, even before he does any works – yes, so that he may know that he has nothing of which to boast before God in his justification. But the man who has such true faith will naturally set about doing the works commanded (as Abraham did, and as St. James specifically indicates), and in these ways he “works out his salvation with fear and trembling.” Men are not perfect, and many of their failings may not destroy their authentic faith in God (though certain sins – “sins unto death,” as Scripture names them – do). But the man who does not “work out his salvation with fear and trembling” in authentic faith, but rather, performs works in a spirit of self-confidence, as though God were indebted to him for his works, that man is “working” for wages and will find he is owed nothing. St. Paul rightly says that in this case it is the man that “worketh not,” but has faith in God who justifies the ungodly, who will be saved. No man can make God a debtor, and “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” The Scriptures are emphasizing that the primary thing is a real and living faith, and that God prefers the flawed man with authentic faith to the rigorously observant man who is self-satisfied.

        Indeed, If I intellectually assent to the Catholic Faith and frequent all the Sacraments and avoid committing any gross sins while performing many admirable, good deeds (from an exterior perspective), but interiorly expect to be “paid” by God for this, and have little charity, I don’t doubt for a second that I’d see the inside of hell before a sectarian in invincible ignorance of the Church, who fulfilled far fewer commandments as men reckon such things, but had the firm intent to trust and obey God so far as she understood, without any thought of reward. It is in this way, that, on the one hand, “he that worketh not, but hath faith” is saved, whereas, on the other hand, “by works a man is justified, and not by faith alone.” The context of Scripture, reason, and the authoritative voice of the Church are of inestimable help in coming to this integral and infallibly correct understanding of the Scriptural (and Catholic) teaching on faith and works.

        It’s all perfectly clear, though I admit that, as a Protestant, I too was tossed about by every wind of doctrine on this matter. I look back on those days almost as though they were another lifetime.

      • If, as many Christians teach, the word translated “justified” has two main meanings, and if one of them is “proved,” and if James 2:24 means that a man is proved to be saved by his works, then your point is nullified. James is speaking of proving a man; Paul is referring to God declaring a man not guilty.

        There are many verses of scripture teaching that we have to do good deeds in order to be counted righteous. But if man cannot obey perfectly, then these verses express a hypothetical. And if Christ is our righteousness, then we can rest in his salvation rather than in placing hope in our own deeds.

        I express these points as hypotheticals because you will reject them. My purpose at this point is only to indicate to the uncommitted reader that Protestantism is not the mass of contradictions that her enemies claim.

        To the man who “believes,” without any firm intent to entrust himself to God in indebted obedience, such “faith ” is not reckoned as faith at all, but as empty belief: “even the demons believe, and tremble.”

        The faith that saves involves knowledge, assent to the truths known, and trust in God based on the knowledge and assent. Anything less is not true faith.

        The problem with Rome is that she adds to the requirements for salvation, based in part on her belief that she has special authority given by God.

        I’m afraid this fails, and this is precisely why Christ instituted a Church with the authority to excommunicate and teach authoritatively as the Pillar and Bulwark of Truth…

        The problem with this claim is that it is unverifiable. The “keys of the kingdom” passage is far too vague to establish what Rome claims. Rome’s authority claim is obviously self-serving if it is not true. The actual record of history shows a gradual development of the idea of Roman Catholic Authority, and of the distinctive Roman Catholic doctrines. The Scriptures have other natural interpretations besides the one asserted by Rome.

        It was a tragedy that your Protestant teachers taught so poorly. Like Catholicism, Protestantism is filled with false and incompetent teachers. Just as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself predicted about His church.

    • Exactly, Bruce; and that is precisely the substance of St. James’ argument. St. Paul and St. James are both saying the same thing, though St. James is offering a corrective to an easy misinterpretation of St. Paul’s preaching.

      St. Paul is arguing quite correctly that “if a Law were given that could quicken, then indeed salvation would be by the Law,” but there is no such law, indeed “the letter killeth, but the Spirit quickeneth.” The Christian is thus not saved by a mere performance of deeds; when writing to churches plagued by Judaizers, he points out that those who are fulfilling Mosaic precepts, in particular, as though they were necessary to be a Christian, are seeking to go back to the Old Covenant, and had better start keeping all of it! Faith in God who justifies men gratuitously – self-abandonment and entrustment to God in the knowledge that one is His debtor, not His creditor – is the thing. This Faith is itself the gift of God, and the man only attains to it through the (also gratuitous) gift of Christ. So, what justifies a man is to accept and cooperate with what Christ freely offers him, and there is no room to boast. This is the context of St. Paul’s teaching that “he that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reckoned to him as righteousness.” “Worketh” does not mean “do good,” period (otherwise we would contradict St. James, the integral teaching of all Scripture, reason and God’s goodness), but “do good as though expecting to be paid one’s due wages.” Such a man is not after grace, but after wages.

      Yet Christ did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it, to write it upon the hearts of men, and to lead to a perfect observance of God’s actual Law. “Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” This is where the sectarians depart wretchedly into error. For Luther, righteousness is merely imputed, full stop. For the Christian adhering to the Apostolic and Catholic Faith, God actually makes the Christian righteous by rooting him in Christ, and enables him to truly become perfect, to lead a life without any sin through the operation of grace, with which the Christian cooperates by means of a living and authentic faith that actually obeys God; what pleases God is not the mere doing of the deeds, but the sincerity of the Faith that obeys Him without expecting to be paid for it.

      Our Lord thus left His own commands, authority and Mysteries with the Apostles, whereby men are incorporated into Christ’s Body, are anointed with the Holy Ghost, are nourished on His Body and Blood, and, in short, through Faith are granted access to the Ark of Salvation, wherein they do not have their own righteousness of mere deeds done for a payoff, but rather, have Christ operating in them by grace in a way that can truly lead to a life free even of deliberate, venial sins. The Church thus believes that, being justified freely by grace and made righteous in Christ, “we therefore establish the Law” by a true and perfect observance of God’s Law, not as workers expecting our due wages, but as those who honor and obey God in faith as His perpetual debtors. And this is the context of St. James’ preaching: that if Abraham’s “faith” was not so genuine as to induce him to actually obey God, it would not have been this Faith, the Faith that establishes the Law and fulfills it more perfectly than the Pharisees. Thus, God did not justify Abraham because Abraham obeyed God, as though Abraham’s performance of a commandment could merit justification in itself, but rather, because God Himself is good; the means by which He justified Abraham was his authentic faith – faith such as for him to actually obey God, which indeed was proven by his obedience. Or, as St. Thomas would teach us – a thing receives the effect of its principle the closer it abides to it: in the mere doing of deeds, there is but little value and a man may remain far from God; but in authentic Faith – such as is ready and willing (and actually does) perform deeds, a man draws near to God. This is why mere deeds do not save, but Faith, by which a man yields himself to God, does. But if obedience had been lacking, if deeds had not followed, we all know what kind of faith it would have been – i.e., not faith at all, but that mere belief which even demons have, trembling. This mere belief, far from receiving justification from God, instead heaps up wrath and future condemnation against the man who claims to “believe” on Jesus, but whose deeds prove that he is alien, or even opposed, to Him.

  7. As an aside, the Manosphere seems to be a collection of men with grievances directed towards women which is if you think about it, a ridiculous situation. There are tons of good women out there.

    There isn’t much focus on multiculti, cultural Marxism (beyond feminism), or capitalist plunderers.

    • I don’t get the impression that there are tons of good women out there. I get the impression that a very small fraction of women out there are good, (I assume we mean the type of girl a traditional guy would want to marry) marriage-able women. The Duggar girls are good women. They represent a small fraction of Christian women and don’t even get me started on non-Christian women. I’m quite concerned about who my sons will marry.

      The same is probably true of men of course. I’m quite concerned about who my daughter will marry.

      • In all honesty, there are more normal women than men in these days. Women in general are split between wanting to conform and wanting to be what they truly are as women: feminine.

        That can be remedied with a strong man who is willing and able to provide a structured order for her. Women thrive in the familial context and when they don’t have that, they go absolutely insane

      • Do you have kids? Both boys and girls?

        I am noticing differences in the way I raised my oldest, a boy, and my younger, girls. This may lead to bad female behavior down the line and it may be my fault in the end. I get that sinking feeling when I think of how bad it could go for them and how ill equipped I am as a man.

        Yet I also wonder if all fathers in all times have been in this quandary. Have all fathers treated their daughters with softer standards? And I’ve wondered if all fathers banded together with each other, their sons, brothers, uncles, and mothers to create a society that simply limited the damage any young woman can do to herself and everyone around her, by maintaining a strict control on young women, so that they are never at any time outside the observation and authority of a patriarchal figure, be it father or husband.

        If so, we no longer have that patriarchy today. It is gone. There is no check on bad female behavior, unlike with our sons with whom we share a male bond, and ready discipline, and systematic ethical reasonings, and who has a loving fear of his father, and goes into rebellion knowing and accepting the consequences (unlike women, since they’re more likely to be irrational and oblivious to costs and consequence)?

        Fathers are ill equipped indeed.

    • They are also a group of men who know there’s something seriously wrong with society, and therefore with themselves. Such people might be open to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  8. @Alan

    “That’s a hostile and deliberate misunderstanding of what I said. The point is to find Christ.

    Note to those of you who are undecided about Christianity: This is one bad side effect of the Catholic Church’s self-understanding as the One True Church: arrogance toward the other churches. Notice that the Catholic partisans did not just say that I was wrong. They went ballistic.”

    I do not understand Orthosphere etiquette. I didn’t go ballistic, though my comment was not without conviction.

    • The ballistic Catholic I had in mind was mainly Mr. C, not you. I should have made that comment after his comment, not after yours.

      • I still don’t understand. At least as far as I can tell, he and I are the only Catholic commenters so far, and you refer to “Catholics,” which would also include me, unless Svar is to be included in those who went ballistic.

        Whatever the standards of the Orthosphere as a whole, it is your post, and therefore you are the judge of what is civil or not. Best if I bow out in that respect, as I am likely to violate the standard again if I continue. I am sorry for my misunderstanding.

      • If you don’t judge yourself as being hostile to what I said, then I won’t accuse you of such. One can disagree without being hostile.

        There have been some other hostile Catholic partisans here at the Orthosphere, but they have not joined this discussion.

      • I don’t believe I went ballistic. I expressed very strong disagreement with an opinion I find to be completely intellectually bankrupt. I put forward cogent arguments, and did not directly insult anyone, apart from expressing my opinion that Protestantism seems to me to be tenable only by inconsistent thinkers, such that I can usually only understand it by attributing it to ignorance, venality or ambition for license (and I ascribed this judgment to myself, primarily). I wasn’t aiming at being pointlessly abusive in expressing that sentiment, simply stating my genuine exasperation at it. Perhaps there was no edifying reason for saying it, however, and I should confess that fault and ask forgiveness, which I do.

        I used to be a Protestant, so I understand the sincerity and good faith of many Protestants. But, literally *as soon as* I read the Apostolic Fathers, I realized I had been embarrassingly ignorant of the most basic facts of Christian history. And *as soon as* I read one simple work of Catholic apologetics on the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, I realized I had believed something so stupid and flatly self-contradictory, that I actually blushed, alone in my room, and for the first time faced my own capacity for idiocy. I had believed something a child should have been able to see through; how had I missed it? I don’t understand how a man can go on being Protestant, after even a tangential contact with the case against it, unless he deliberately avoids the obvious.

      • Protestant belief seems to imply (and sometimes outright state) that the Church went off the rails pretty darn early and the apostacy was nearly total. R.L. Dabney in his anti-Popery essay linked by Terry Morris recently wrote: “Prelacy and popery speedily began to work in the bosom of that community [BB: the primitive Church described in the Bible] and steadily wrought its corruption and almost its total extirpation.”

        In this regard, Mormonism seems to take the Protestant assumption only a little further, arguing that the apostacy was immediate and total (note, I am not saying that in general Mormonism is a slight extension of Protestantism).

      • Some Protestants are more vehement in their rejection of traditional Christian practices than others, but the Magisterial Reformers did not say, or imply, that Christendom went off the rails early on. It was more a matter of certain false doctrines gradually coming to have more and more prominence.

      • Allen, I think “esoteric” here is used in the sense of “incomprehensible.” Before the coming of Krishna, salvation was obtained by the forms of life and religious practices contained in Vedic revelation. Krishna instituted a new, unheard of dispensation for those who live in the Kali Yuga. Now salvation comes directly from God, mediated by the Queen of Heaven, Śrī (aka Lakshmi).

  9. First… If Truth is the framework then there is no such thing as the “manosphere.” What there is is a male liberationist movement… A collective of de facto homos ABSOLUTELY AGAINST Christian sexual morality (one man/one woman, not deracinated, procreative and loyal for life) AND The Perfect Man, empirically and conceptually. Secondly, this cultural correctness whereby “we” exalt a lesser thing by way of labeling “it” a greater thing, e.g., calling a homosexual a “man,” is “our” own variant of radical liberalism. Labeling a cabal of de facto homos as a “MAN-o-sphere” puts “us” smack dab right at the center of the liberal subversion. Thirdly, “we” truly must battle the liberal lexicon with the bare-naked Logos.

    Liberalism is the homosexual “nature,” ie., the self-annihilating “nature.”

    The push for “equality” is the push to transform a Supremacist doctrine into self-annihilating ideology.

  10. “Given the disputes over the interpretation of Scripture, one of the key elements in the early Church’s understanding of its teaching was the Rule of Faith (Regula Fidei, Regula Veritatis; Regula Pietatis; Kamon ies Pisteos). First, the Rule of Faith was a short statement of the Church’s belief. It was not some kind of measuring stick or external criterion which could be applied to doctrines to test their acceptability. It is not what much later Catholic theology would call the “analogy of faith.” The Rule of Faith is the Faith itself, i.e., the brief statement of the articles of belief. It is not precisely the same thing as a creed, though it constitutes one element which contributed to the later development of creeds (Eno 22).

    Tertulluan wrote, “we do not take our scriptural teaching from the parables but we interpret the parables according to our teaching.” (On Purity. 9.1; cf ‘The Prescription Against the Heretics 38.10)” (qtd, in Eno 21).

    “Scripture is the basis of teaching–yes, but Scripture is to be interpreted in accordance with the Church’s traditional teaching, not contrary to it. If the letter of Scripture seems to contradict the tradition, then one must assume that the passage in question is not being interpreted correctly. An atomistic interpretation of Scripture will inevitably lead to difficulties and misunderstandings. The Scriptures come from God and therefore must be consistent with themselves, having ultimately a single divine author” (Eno 21-22).

    So the early Church seems to disagree with Mr. Roebuck’s sola scriptura. Yes, I know that Eno says that “Scripture is the basis of teaching.” But it’s written record of oral tradition. The Church and Sacred Tradition are older than the Bible as we know it. In fact, the Third Council of Carthage teaches that the canon of Scripture includes the seven deuterocanonical books that most Protestant Bibles omit (http://www.bible-researcher.com/carthage.html).

    Eno, Robert B. “Teaching Authority in the Early Church: Message of the Fathers of the Church.” Vol. 14. Ed. Thomas Halton. Wilmington: Michael Glazier, Inc., 1984.

    • But one can find Fathers who did teach (without using that exact phrase) sola scriptura. For example, Cyril of Jerusalem (mid 4th century) wrote

      This seal have thou ever on thy mind; which now by way of summary has been touched on in its heads, and if the Lord grant, shall hereafter be set forth according to our power, with Scripture proofs. For concerning the divine and sacred Mysteries of the Faith, we ought not to deliver even the most casual remark without the Holy Scriptures: nor be drawn aside by mere probabilities and the artifices of argument. Do not then believe me because I tell thee these things, unless thou receive from the Holy Scriptures the proof of what is set forth: for this salvation, which is of our faith, is not by ingenious reasonings, but by proof from the Holy Scriptures.

      (Source of quote: http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/sola-scriptura-earlychurch.html)

      One can find Fathers on both sides of this dispute, which means that we do not turn to them to resolve the dispute. Instead, we understand that Scripture is the Word of God, and therefore preeminent among authorities. And we add that if there were an unwritten Tradition, it would have to agree with Scripture.

      (By the way, it’s not “my” sola scriptura.)

      • St. Cyril regards the Scriptures themselves, as something received on the authority of the prior Tradition. Speaking of the Canon of Scripture, he refers to the Ecclesiastical Tradition that the Septuaguint was itself a divinely inspired translation completed in a miraculous fashion. [AR: tradition can tell us that particular writings are Scripture, but it cannot make them Scripture.] He then gives the reason for approving of the Canon he has: Πολύ σοῦ φρονιμώτεροι καὶ εὐλαβέστεροι ῆσαν οἱ ἀπόστολοι καὶ οἱ ἀρχαῖοι ἐπίσκοποι καὶ οἱ τῆς ἐκκλησίας προστάται, οἱ ταύτας παραδόντες (“Far wiser and more pious than you, were the apostles and the bishops of old, and the prelates of the Church, who handed these down” – παραδόντες being a participle related to the noun always used for tradition: παράδοσις). He then goes on to give a Canon that does not entirely agree with the later Canon approved by the whole Church, and which lacks the book of the Apocalypse.

        Now, look: it’s nice that you were able to find a single, decontextualized quote (standard modus operandi for a Protestant, one must admit); but have you actually read the Catechetical Lectures? Go read them. [AR: Since sola scriptura, by definition, is the belief that Scripture is the supreme authority over the meaning of doctrine, and since the quote I gave says this, this is not “quoting out of context.”] Three chapters prior to the passage you had cited, St. Cyril was explaining to the catechumens the importance of making the sign of the Cross. He begins his Catechetical Lectures by commanding that they be kept secret, as part of the Church’s secret teaching intended only for the baptized. Here’s a passage where he upholds the Catholic doctrine that, in the Mass, the Holy Spirit changes the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, that this is a true Sacrifice offered by the Church to propitiate God and beseech His grace, and that It is offered in memory of the Saints, to ask their prayers, and in memory of the other faithful departed, to benefit their souls beyond the grave.

        Εἶτα ἁγιάσαντες ἑαυτοὺς διὰ τῶν πνευματικῶν τούτων ὕμνων, παρακαλοῦμεν τὸν φιλάνθρωπον Θεὸν τὸ ἅγιον Πνεῦμα ἐξαποστεῖλαι ἐπὶ τὰ προκείμενα, ἵνα ποιήσῃ τὸν μὲν ἄρτον σῶμα Χριστοῦ, τὸν δὲ οἶνον αἷμα Χριστοῦ· παντὸς γὰρ οὗ ἂν ἐφάψηται τὸ ἅγιον Πνεῦμα, τοῦτο ἡγίασται καὶ μεταβέβληται. Εἶτα μετὰ τὸ ἀπαρτισθῆναι τὴν πνευματικὴν θυσίαν, τὴν ἀναίμακτον λατρείαν, ἐπὶ τῆς θυσίας ἐκείνης τοῦ ἱλασμοῦ, παρακαλοῦμεν τὸν Θεὸν ὑπὲρ κοινῆς τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν ειρήνης… Εἶτα μνημονεύομεν καὶ τῶν κεκοιμημένων, πρῶτον πατριαρχῶν, προφητῶν, ἀποστόλων, μαρτύρων, ὅπως ὁ Θεὸς εὐχαῖς αὐτῶν καὶ πρεσβείαις προσδέξηται ἡμῶν τὴν δέησιν. Εἶτα καὶ ὑπὲρ τῶν κεκοιμημένων ἁγίων πατέρων καὶ ἐπισκόπων, καὶ πάντων ἁπλῶς τῶν ἡμῖν προκεκοιμημένων, μεγίστην ὄνησιν πιστεύοντες ἔσεσθαι ταῖς ψυχαῖς, ὑπὲρ ὧν ἡ δέησις ἀναφέρεται, τῆς ἁγίας καὶ φρικωδεστάτης προκειμένης θυσίας. – 23:7-9

        (“Then having sanctified ourselves by these spiritual Hymns, we beseech the merciful God to send forth His Holy Spirit upon the gifts lying before Him; that He may make the Bread the Body of Christ, and the Wine the Blood of Christ; for whatsoever the Holy Ghost has touched, is surely sanctified and changed. Then, after the spiritual sacrifice, the bloodless service, is completed, over that sacrifice of propitiation we entreat God for the common peace of the Churches… Then we commemorate also those who have fallen asleep before us, first Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, that at their prayers and intercessions God would receive our petition. Then on behalf also of the Holy Fathers and Bishops who have fallen asleep before us, and in a word of all who in past years have fallen asleep among us, believing that it will be a very great benefit to the souls, for whom the supplication is put up, while that holy and most awe-inspiring Sacrifice is set forth.”).

        He has an explicitly Sacramental belief in the Sacrament of Confirmation:

        Ἀλλ’ ὅρα μὴ ὑπονοήσῃς ἐκεῖνο τὸ μύρον ψιλὸν εἶναι. Ὥσπερ γὰρ ὁ ἄρτος τῆς εὐχαριστίας, μετὰ τὴν ἐπίκλησιν τοῦ ἁγίου Πνεύματος, οὐκ ἔτι ἄρτος λιτός, ἀλλὰ σῶμα Χριστοῦ, οὕτω καὶ τὸ ἅγιον τοῦτο μύρον οὐκ ἔτι ψιλόν, οὐδ’ ὡς ἂν εἴποι τις κοινὸν μετ’ ἐπικλήσεως, ἀλλὰ Χριστοῦ χάρισμα, καὶ Πνεύματος ἁγίου παρουσίας τῆς αὐτοῦ θεότητος ἐνεργητικὸν γινόμενον.

        (“Take heed thou dost not think that this is a mere ointment only. For as the bread of the Eucharist after the invocation of the Holy Ghost is no longer ordinary bread, but is the body of Christ; so this holy ointment is no longer a bare common ointment after it is consecrated, but is the charism of Christ, and, through the presence of the Holy Ghost is rendered effective of/energized with His Divinity [i.e., is made able to impart deifying grace]”).

        Do you begin to see? The Catholic Tradition is not an innovation, but is entirely present in the earliest centuries of the Church. [Sure, some notions that resemble the later teachings of Rome can be found early on. This is not the same thing as teaching all current Catholic doctrine from the beginning.] Only someone illiterate in the Fathers would ascribe the doctrine of Sola Scriptura to them on the basis of a decontextualized quote on some Protestant apologist’s website. For every obscure and out-of-context blurb a Protestant may produce like this, a Catholic can produce hundreds of pages of continuous, early Christian writings to the contrary, so that it is disingenuous in the extreme to portray the Fathers as “Bible-Only” folk. This is why I have so little patience for Protestantism: after a point, it is clear that the obstinate Protestant is having to lie to himself to remain a sectarian, and nothing strikes me as being so vile and unendurable, as a man who lies even to himself. Indeed, this is the foundation of the Modernist world.

        [AR: Your claim that all of current Catholic dogma is obviously present in the earliest Christian writings is nonsense. You’re reading the Fathers with a partisan bias.

        Another thing: Christianity is not just a set of sayings, it is a system. Once you grasp the essence of the system, it becomes quite clear to see it in the pages of Scripture. To give only the most important example: The single item that distinguishes Christianity from all other systems of religion is justification (God’s declaration that the sinner is not guilty) by faith alone. This doctrine is taught in both the Old and New Testaments, by multiple writers, and in multiple passages. This is only to be expected, because the default religious belief of mankind is that one must jump through religious hoops in order to be approved by God. Therefore the biblical authors have to repeat themselves.

        And this means, for example, that a concept like Purgatory is against the system of the Bible. It is not just something which one cannot find clear passages on. And likewise for the other disputed doctrines.

        The clear record of mankind is that traditions change over time. They always innovate. Unless they are explicitly subjected to correction by a clearly written record, such as Scripture, religions naturally wander. And it does no good to claim that there was an unwritten Tradition that has authority. An unwritten record could be anything.]

        St. Cyril valued the Scriptures, as all the Fathers do, and was eager to show, especially at that early age, that his doctrine was in accord with the prior documents of the Faith. But he takes it for granted that the whole system of Tradition and the universal practice of the Church was the only context, in which the Scriptures could be rightly understood. [AR: Provided that you accurately identify what tradition and practice is, I agree.] If someone complained to him that all this stuff about the Mass and prayer for the dead and holy oil wasn’t in the Bible, I’m sure St. Cyril would take the same view he took towards the Scriptures: “Far wiser and holier than you, were the Apostles and the bishops of old, and the prelates of the Church, Who handed these things down to us…” [AR: The Apostles would not hand down things that contradict the system of the Bible.]

      • I did not say that the Fathers were “Bible-only folk.” I said that there are quotes from the Fathers that say Scripture is the highest authority for Christian doctrine, which is what sola scriptura actually says. And there are also quotes from the Fathers denying that the Bible is the highest authority. The Fathers do not speak with one voice, contrary to what some Catholics say.

        As for the other doctrines you referenced here: These quotes do not establish Catholic doctrine, they appear to suggest it. But they are also consistent with Protestant interpretations of the matters being discussed.

      • It’s confusing. I’ve read that Luther, THE original Protestant, did not teach that sola scriptura means scripture is the only source of authority. Yet the very words sola scripture, “scripture only” seem to mean this. It’s not surprising that some came to understand it that way.

      • Slogans need to be short and catchy. The “sola” in sola scriptura means that Scripture stands alone as the top authority.

      • To give only the most important example: The single item that distinguishes Christianity from all other systems of religion is justification (God’s declaration that the sinner is not guilty) by faith alone. This doctrine is taught in both the Old and New Testaments, by multiple writers, and in multiple passages. This is only to be expected, because the default religious belief of mankind is that one must jump through religious hoops in order to be approved by God.

        This is merely untrue. Both Shri Vaishnavism (Hindu) and Jodo Shinshu (Buddhist) teach that salvation depends only on the unmerited grace of the divine.

      • Interesting. What, then, is the follower of one of these religions to do in order to achieve (or receive) salvation? Even in Christianity, there is something the individual must do, that is repent and believe in Jesus.

      • Alan, Śrī Vaiṣṇavas have two denominations and are not in agreement on the functioning on grace. The Northern denomination teaches monkey grace (see below) and believes salvation comes from a synergy of human and divine action. The Southern school teaches cat grace (see below) and believes that salvation comes from divine action alone, God being absolutely sovereign. Here’s a little more explanation from Flood’s An Introduction to Hinduism:

        About 200 years after Ramanuja’s death, the Śrī Vaiṣṇava community had split into sub-sects called the ‘northern culture’ (vaṭakaiaī) and the ‘southern culture’ (tenkalai). The vaṭakaiai emphasized the Sanskrit scriptures and salvation through traditional bbakti-yoga, that is devotion to the temple icon, while the teṅkalii emphasized the Tamil scriptures and surrender to the Lord by his grace. These two theologies became known as the ‘monkey’ and ‘cat’ schools respectively. In the ‘monkey* school, salvation is achieved by both effort and grace; the devotee clings to God through his effort, while the Lord saves him, as a baby monkey clings to its mother as she moves through the trees. The ‘cat’ school, on the other hand, emphasized the grace of the Lord, claiming that the devotee is saved only through grace, as a mother cat picks up her young and carries them without any effort on their part. This distinction is brought out in two understandings of a passage in the Bhagavad Gītā (18.66), the famous carama-śloka, which reads ‘Abandoning all laws seek shelter in me alone. I will save you from all sins. Do not fear. ’ The tenkalai understood this passage to mean that there were two distinct paths, traditional bhakti-yoga and the esoteric, superior, path of surrender (prapatti).

      • Alan Roebuck:

        I recommend that you actually sit down and read Cyril of Jerusalem’s “Lectures on the Sacraments”. Read it slowly. Ponder it. As you read it, ask yourself: “What did the early Christians believe? What did they do? How did they worship? How did they pray?”

        Read it for yourself.

      • Alan Roebuck wrote:

        > Fair enough, but Scripture is a higher authority than Cyril of Jerusalem

        Is *your interpretation* of scripture a higher authority than Cyril of Jerusalem’s (and all of the other early Church Fathers’) interpretation of scripture? Because that is what you are implicitly claiming.

      • [In response to Anonymous Coward’s comment of 6:13 am] Interpretation is not authority. Everybody, you included, has to decide what seems to be true and which authority is valid. Is *your interpretation* of Rome’s authority claim a higher authority than Scripture?

        Every non-scriptural authority makes claims that need to be evaluated. Cyril of Jerusalem, like everyone else, may have been mistaken, and might be misinterpreted. Catholics think that the Fathers belong to Rome, but they are fallible authorities, just like everyone except God and everything except the Bible.

        I’m coming to see that Catholic partisans regard the diversity within Protestantism as an unanswerable argument. 58 bazillion denominations, people can interpret Scripture any way they want, etc. Therefore only Catholicism is valid.

        I suppose it all comes down to God’s intent. If He intended Rome to be the authority over Christendom, then Protestant diversity makes Protestantism invalid.

        But if God intended something different, than Protestantism is not necessarily invalid.

      • Alan, here’s how this argument just went:

        Alan: Sola Scriptura is taught by some of the Church Fathers. Here’s a quote from Cyril of Jerusalem.

        Others: Here’s proof in context that he didn’t. You need to read all of him.

        Alan: Scripture is higher than Cyril.

        I’m not trying to beat you up here, but you’re going to have to do better than this if you want to make converts among a very disaffected group of men, or call together a council of Protestants condemning modern heresies, as you wrote in your last post.

      • You claimed that nobody believed in or taught sola scriptura (Scripture is the highest authority on every subject about which it speaks) prior to the Reformation.

        I pointed out a patristic quote that, in effect, asserts sola scriptura.

        One counterexample disproves a general assertion.

        Now, if you are going to claim that Cyril of Jerusalem did not actually believe in sola scriptura, make your case. But then I could point to other patristic quotations that support sola scriptura.

        Of course, you could then point to a patristic quotation that opposes sola scriptura.

        But your original claim, that nobody believed it before Luther, is highly dubious.

      • Sure, they can, thordaddy. But sola scriptura helps explain why there are more than 30,000 Protestant sects. Think about sola scriptura this way. The Old Testament existed before the New one did. The Third Council of Carthage met in 397 A.D. Before then, the only canon official canon was the Old Testament one.

        Say ancient Jews believed sola scriptura. Then they thought the OT was the whole Bible and wouldn’t have believed the new one was canonical. We got the official NT canon long after the Christ ascended into Heaven and long after the last Apostle died. Between those times, we still had Apostolic Succession and the Catholic Church’s authority. Before 1511, no one was Protestant.

        Please read the Historical Introduction to the Council of Ephesus that said it taught infallibly in 431 (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.x.i.html), which I found at a Protestant website. In that introduction, you’ll read that the Ephesene Council Father’s thought that Pope Celestine was teaching with St. Peter’s authority. And that belief implies that St. Celestine succeeded St. Peter.

  11. Mr. Roebuck, St. Cyril of Jerusalem lived in the mid fourth century, but there was no official New Testament canon until 397 in the late fourth century. So before that year, there may still have been debates about what books belonged in the Bible, debates the council probably meant to settle authoritatively.

    After Dr. Eno quotes St. Cyprian of Carthage’s book “On Baptism,” he, Eno, writes:

    “The difficulty then as now is not the supremacy of Scripture but what that means in practice. All parties to every dispute claim to base their position on Scripture. As Tertullian put it in c. 200m A.D., the only practical result from a debate with heretics in which each side parades its scriptural ‘evidence’ is a headache or a stomach ache. He added: ‘What is the first thing a heretic brings up to try to convince you? It is written . . .’ While the Fathers look to Scripture, the in fact must have other criteria which will be decisive in determining the meaning of Scripture. One of the most important of these is Tradition, the way the Church has (at least with some consistency) interpreted Scripture in the past. It does no good to simply cite Scripture, if the interpretation conflicts with or leads to conflict with the way Church usually understood something. So if ‘Jesus answered: Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone?’ (Mk 10.18) were brought forth as of the non-divinity of Christ, such an interpretation would be rejected as incompatible with the totality of Scripture and incompatible with the Church’s traditional belief” (Eno 21).

    Maybe you see why the Catholic Church believes that there’s a two-part source of divinely revealed truth, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition and that both parts come ultimately from God. Sacred Tradition predated the New Testament, partly because Christ founded the Church before any human author wrote any part of it. The Church didn’t come from the Bible. The Bible came from the Church.

    • Whether or not there was a New Testament canon in 397 is besides the point. The point is that some of the Fathers affirmed a position that would later be called sola scriptura, namely that Scripture is the highest authority.

      If “sacred tradition” is another name for the Apostles’ teaching then yes, it predated the New Testament. And the Bible “came from” the church, not in the sense that the church is an authority over the Bible, but in the sense that the human authors of Scripture were members of the church, i.e., the assembly of believers.

      • Mr. Roebuck, it’s unclear to me whether St. Cyril of Jerusalem did believe sola scriptura. You quote him indirectly because your source is a secondary one. I’ve found Cyril’s whole 4th Catechetical Lecture, the one the quotation comes from, so I’m eager to read the quotation in context. I’ve also discovered a transcript of an email discussion between a Protestant and an Eastern Orthodox apologist, where the EO debater denies that Cyril believed sola scriptura. Here’s a link to the transcript. I’m suggesting the transcript partly because it’s from a non-Catholic source. I quoted cited a Protestant website’s copy of the Ephesene Council’s documents partly because a Protestant scholars translated them. They’re the same ones you’ll find Hendrickson Publishing Company’s 38-volume set of Patristic writings.

        http://www.saintjonah.org/articles/solascriptura_earlychurch.htm

        And this (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/310104.htm) will take you to St. Cyril’s lecture.

      • “Do not then believe me because I tell thee these things, unless thou receive from the Holy Scriptures the proof of what is set forth…” indicates Scripture as supreme authority (at least epistemologically) over Christianity. And that’s all that sola scriptura means. Whether Cyril contradicted this view in another writing is besides my main point, which is that there are patristic quotations favoring sola scriptura.

    • Bill wrote, “But sola scriptura helps explain why there are more than 30,000 Protestant sects.:

      1.I thought it was 20,000. That reminds me of something I remember vaguely from the mid-1980s at the University of Illinois. Students were advocating “gay rights” and claiming that 1 in 10 people are gay. That wasn’t getting them what they wanted. Then: 2 in 10 are gay! (Or maybe they started with 2 in 10 and went to 3 in ten… I forget)

      2.In any event, the claim that there are tens of thousands of Protestant “sects” is a familiar ploy of Roman polemics. A moment’s thought collapses it. Assuming the figure is correct (which is hard to do since a source isn’t given…), the polemicist is probably misunderstanding (probably willfully) the difference between denomination and “sect,” if the latter term means what Roman Catholics use it to mean, i.e. bodies that have varying theologies based on the supposed chaos caused by “sola Scriptura.”

      The thing is that most of these “sects” are in fellowship with one another. A pastor ordained in one “sect” will be welcome to preach to a congregation of another “sect.” Bill would evidently like us to imagine that Free Methodists are squabbling over doctrine in quarrels with Wesleyans. It is far more likely that the Joneses, who slept late Sunday and missed the service at their Free Methodist church, will attend that some morning at the Wesleyan church; and, if there’s a Communion service, they will be welcome to partake.

      I don’t know how many real divisions there are in Protestant circles. There are real differences between, say, mainline Presbyterians and adherents of the Lutheran Confessions, and they are not in fellowship with one another. Perhaps that is a better state of affairs than that prevailing in Bill’s own denomination, in which (as I see year after year) conservative Roman Catholics complain of watery doctrine or even heresy taught under the big tent of the Roman church.

      Offhand these eight seem to me to be the real divisions in Protestant circles, some of which are so profound that the people involved would hesitate even to be considered Protestant…

      Lutherans who adhere to the Lutheran Confessions
      Conservative Reformed
      Confessional Anglican
      Conservative Baptists
      Evangelicals other than Calvinist on one hand or Wesleyan on the other, e.g. the Covenant church that’s derived from Swedish evangelicalism
      Wesleyans — free Methodist, Wesleyan, Church of the Nazarene perhaps, etc.
      Mainline churches of various flavors
      Pentecostals
      What else??

      Even between some of these fairly definite “sects” there’d be some fellowship based on agreement of what are called essential doctrines.

      I’m not celebrating Protestant diversity, by the way. I came out of the Wesleyan-revivalist tradition into adherence to the Lutheran Confessions, and that is a big change indeed. But in the interests of honesty, or even effectiveness when debating knowledgeable Protestants, perhaps Roman controversialists could drop the canard about tens of thousands of “sects.”

    • “Highest authority” means that it outranks all other authorities. I’m not sure what other clarification can be given.

      Saying that Scripture is the only authority is not the normative Protestant position. It is held only only a small minority.

      • The Catholic Church believes that Scripture and Tradition are equally authoritative. In one sense, Tradition is what’s transmitted from the Apostles. In another sense, it’s the transmission method.

        http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/dictionary/index.cfm?id=36902

        Although the Bible is authoritative, it’s not an authority. To tell you why I say that, here’s how the Oxford American dictionary defines the word “authority.”

        1 the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience : he had absolute authority over his subordinates | positions of authority | they acted under the authority of the UN Security Council | a rebellion against those in authority. See note at jurisdiction .
        • [often with infinitive ] the right to act in a specified way, delegated from one person or organization to another : military forces have the legal authority to arrest drug traffickers.
        • official permission; sanction : the money was spent without congressional authority.
        2 (often authorities) a person or organization having power or control in a particular, typically political or administrative, sphere : the health authorities | the Chicago Transit Authority | the authorities ordered all foreign embassies to close | she wasn’t used to dealing with authority.
        3 the power to influence others, esp. because of one’s commanding manner or one’s recognized knowledge about something : he has the natural authority of one who is used to being obeyed | he spoke with authority on the subject.
        • the confidence resulting from personal expertise : he hit the ball with authority.
        • a person with extensive or specialized knowledge about a subject; an expert : she was an authority on the stockmarket.
        • a book or other source able to supply reliable information or evidence, typically to settle a dispute : the court cited a series of authorities supporting their decision.
        PHRASES
        have something on good authority have ascertained something from a reliable source : I have it on good authority that there is a waiting list of up to five weeks.
        ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French autorite, from Latin auctoritas, from auctor ‘originator, promoter’ (see author ).

      • The Bible has the ultimate authority to determine Christian doctrine because it contains the very Words of God, and no other source contains the Words of God. Obviously other authorities are needed to provide order to Christendom.

        The basic meaning of the abstract noun “authority” is “the right to be believed or obeyed.” The Bible possesses this right in the highest on account of its authorship, as well as God’s divine intention, expressed in the pages of Scripture, to use Scripture to convey His thoughts and desires.

  12. I’m certainly no expert on the manosphere but it seems to me that to the extent it is religious it is already largely Protestant in its orientation. A lot of the phraseology like “headship” “submissiveness” and “courtship”seem to come out of the fundamentalist milieu. I also recognize of course that the brand of Protestantism Mr. Roebuck is suggesting is distinct from the average fundamentalism. Here again I think this illustrates a problem inherent in any kind of ecumenical forum. The ideal Protestant vision would call for the manosphereans to marry have kids and engage in active society. The Catholic view would assert that the consecrated life is really the ideal and would place less emphasis on the active life. It seems to me that a lot of people even here at the orthosphere still basically assumed the Protestant ideal. This is in some ways a very subtle but a very crucial difference in your really dealing with two very different competing visions of the “good.”

    I’m surprised to see a favorable reference to the Dugger family here.

      • Let’s not downplay the importance of the consecrated life in the contemporary world. Had I known more about this form of Christian life when I was younger, I’m not sure I would have left the Church. And I doubt I’m the only one.

    • I referred to the daughters. The Duggar daughters are pretty, modest, and seem to love Jesus. Yes, they’d be better as Catholics. I would like to convert them and marry them off to my sons.
      Even if their older brother is really screwed up.

  13. On a topic that’s discussed in postings above, the curious might read Mathison’s The Shape of Sola Scriptura:

    http://www.amazon.com/Shape-Sola-Scriptura-Keith-Mathison/dp/1885767749/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1441813367&sr=8-1&keywords=shape+sola+scriptura

    There may be better books on the topic, but this one will help to advance the discussion, for many readers.

    The Fathers are indispensable. They help us to read the Scriptures alertly. But they sharply distinguish their words from those of the Bible.

    Here’s Martin Chemnitz’s classic comment, in the first volume of his Examination of the Council of Trent (pp. 208-9):

    —-This also is certain, that no one should rely on his own wisdom in the interpretation of the Scripture, not even in the clear passages, for it is clearly written in 2 Peter 1:20: “The Scripture is not a matter of private interpretation.” And whoever twists the Holy Scripture so that it is understood according to his preconceived opinions does this to his own destruction (2 Peter 3:16). The best reader of the Scripture, according to Hilary, is one who does not bring the understanding of what is said to the Scripture but who carries it away from the Scripture. We also gratefully and reverently use the labors of the fathers who by their commentaries have profitably clarified many passages of the Scripture. And we confess that we are greatly confirmed by the testimonies of the ancient church in the true and sound understanding of the Scripture. Nor do we approve of it if someone invents for himself a meaning which conflicts with all antiquity, and for which there are clearly no testimonies of the church.—-

    Chemnitz’s discussion of Tradition, by the way, in the first volume of the Examination, is illuminating. It was quite helpful to me when I was considering Orthodoxy and the Lutheran Confessions, about 20 years ago.

    I urge everyone to check resources on various current topics that may be found posted by the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

    • My Lutheran friend Raymond surprised me with how much he knew about Patristics. In fact, he’s the only Lutheran I’ve met who knows much about it. Most Protestants I’ve met have believed in sola scriptura in some sense of that phrase, It has enough meanings that my Baptist friend Michael, a professor of linguistics, agreed with me when I said “sola scriptura” had become a slogan.

      Before I joined the Catholic Traditionalist movement, I had no idea how many meanings the word “traditionalism” had. In one sense of that word, traditionalism is even a heresy.

      Catholic traditionalists don’t need to be traditionalists in the political sense. We believe that the Catholic Church hasn’t changed any of her doctrine. We resist the novelties that came along during and after Vatican II, including vernacular Masses, today’s ecumenism, and religious liberty in that council’s(?) sense of the phrase, and collegiality that tries to democratize the Church. I and many other Catholic traditionalists practice Catholicism as though Vatican II hadn’t met. We try to practice what St. Vincent of Lehrins “preached” in his Commonitory. He wrote:

      “[4.] I have often then inquired earnestly and attentively of very many men eminent for sanctity and learning, how and by what sure and so to speak universal rule I may be able to distinguish the truth of Catholic faith from the falsehood of heretical pravity; and I have always, and in almost every instance, received an answer to this effect: That whether I or any one else should wish to detect the frauds and avoid the snares of heretics as they rise, and to continue sound and complete in the Catholic faith, we must, the Lord helping, fortify our own belief in two ways; first, by the authority of the Divine Law, and then, by the Tradition of the Catholic Church.

      [5.] But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church’s interpretation? For this reason—because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters. For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another. Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation.

      [6.] Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and in the strictest sense “Catholic,” which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally. This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity itself we adhere to the consentient definitions and determinations of all, or at the least of almost all priests and doctors.”

      http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3506.htm

  14. William Weinrich, a professor at the LCMS’s Fort Wayne seminary, very kindly responded to my layman questions and comments after I saw his favorable review of Ramsey’s Beginning to Read the Fathers, about 25 years ago. Gotta appreciate a man who takes time from his scholarship not merely to write a nice letter, but who writes up a 20-ITEM BIBLIOGRAPHY for you. He put me on to Chemnitz, also Hermann Sasse, etc.

  15. All churches and organisations get corrupt
    now men are taught that expecting the wife to look after the home is sin and chauvinism
    that if the wife is doing chores and he is relaxing, it is sin
    ( interestingly the other way around , men doing chores and wife relaxing is Not sin)
    I just want to know where in the bible does it say chauvinism is sin?
    but all christians support these beliefs…

    christianity is de facto feminised…
    http://joshuarogers.com/2014/01/27/what-i-wish-someone-had-told-me-before-marriage/

    • “All Christians support these beliefs.” Except the Christians who don’t.

      “Christianity is de facto feminized.” Except for the non-feminized Christianity.

      You need to broaden your horizons, dude.

      • really?
        where
        everywhere I go and read/listen to advice on marriage
        it is chauvinism to expect a wife to look after the home ( the author has no problem with him doing all the household activities and childcare while his wife relaxes…)
        got to CBMW
        go to TGC
        go to even Macarthur etc

        and these are all conservatives
        it is clear they believe that one of the evidences of being a christian man is that he gets rid of his chauvinism
        please…

      • Jonack, it is true that there is a lot of bad advice within Christian circles regarding marriage and child-rearing, but it’s also patently false to say *all* Christians buy into the modernist clap-trap on these vital issues. I would count myself as one who rejects the modernist “family” arrangement out of hand.

        The problem with conservatives is conservatism, which is constantly adjusting itself to conserve the new norm, no matter how evil it is in principle. They may be out there, but I personally don’t know of a single “conservative” whose trajectory isn’t such that crash-and-burn is his ultimate fate if he doesn’t renounce conservatism, and adopt traditionalism in its stead.

      • jonakc1, for all practical purposes, is correct. Non-feminized Christians exist on the internet. Where is there a real Church where non-feminized Christians are the norm?

      • Exactly!!
        nowadays in most churches young men are taught to look after the home, and they boast about it on twitter
        the wives also boast on how their husbands do the cooking, dishes, laundry, childcare, homemaking
        and that is now the quantifiable measure of whether one is a good husband or not…
        a husband used to be measured by his leadership, provision and protection
        now he is measured by how much of the house he runs…
        hence these men think if their wife does something for them while they relax it is sin

        keep in mind that these are from conservative anti abortion anti women preacher churches..

      • Bruce B., I don’t know. Jonakc is in the same boat that you and I are in; he’s going to have to man up, reject feminized “christianity” – not just in word, but in deed – and resolve to be the leader in his family (whenever he marries), regardless. I’m sympathetic, but these sorts of complaints can turn into excuses/crutches before you know it.

        Jonakc, that’s what tends to happen whenever “her mother and I do” is the answer given to the question “who gives this woman to be wed?” Here we have yet one more example of “Christians” “having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof.” Indeed, I was at a nephew’s wedding two summers ago where his wife “promised,” before God, the “Pastor” officiating, and all in attendance, that she would “cook for you, as long as you will do the dishes.” And, yes, “her mother and I do” was the answer to the above question at their wedding too. At that moment I leaned over and whispered to my wife, “their marriage is already doomed.” Not necessarily, of course (they could have an awakening, or something), but I’m going with the odds; it’s at least highly disordered from the git-go. …

      • Jonakc1,

        You have said “I am young…I need advice.”

        I’m not sure where you’re coming from. You sound cynical, which is not good, but since you asked, I’ll say a few things.

        As important as finding a good wife is, it is less important than finding salvation from your sins through faith in Jesus Christ. And this faith only grows when you sit under the teaching of a good pastor.

        That is the real reason to attend a good church. And if you reject Christianity because it is too polluted with feminism, then you will also reject your salvation, and go to Hell. You should do everything you can to avoid that.

        Based on your references (CBMW, TGC, Boundless,…) it sounds like you have experienced generic, non-confessional Protestantism. Confessional Protestantism is somewhat different. As first recommendations, I would point you to the United Reformed Churches in North America (http://www.urcna.org/) or the American Association of Lutheran Churches (http://www.taalc.org/), or the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (http://www.opc.org/), for example.

        As for finding a good wife, it is an unfortunate fact that Western Civilization is deeply polluted by liberalism, feminism included. But it’s not true as generalizations that, as you said, “so for them real biblical leadership is men doing housework…expecting the wife to do so is SIN.” There is a lot more wiggle room than that, even in the modern world. Haven’t you heard of “game,” for example? If an organization that is basically sound occasionally says BS, you can just ignore it.

        Besides, the Christian must keep his eyes on his Savior, not on the sin that pollutes the world.

      • “i have grown up in conservative churches
        based on all the leaders
        if I do not do the dishes I am sinning
        http://9marks.org/article/complementarianism-the-single-man/
        http://joshuarogers.com/2014/01/27/what-i-wish-someone-had-told-me-before-marriage/

        these 2 links prove that

        all the young male youth pastors teach the boys that…”

        I read the first link. It does not say what you think it does. Perhaps people in your life have said such things to you, but the article does not. It does not say you are sinning for not doing the dishes. It says the family is ultimately your responsibility. [AR: That’s the key point. A man is a leader, and as a leader, it is your responsibility to ensure that what needs to be done is done. Sometimes this means that you do the dishes.]

        This is what that looks like in my home: I am a culinary school graduate and a military veteran. I learned to cook and iron clothing long before my wife. My kids love when daddy cooks. I don’t let my wife iron my clothes. She is terrible about organizing enclosed spaces such as closets and kitchen cabinets. This is why I’ve taken a label-maker and labeled the cabinet spaces. She runs the household day to day, the kids, the homeschooling, the laundry, the cooking, but I know a lot in each area and she admits I would probably run all these duties better than her if I had to. But she does it because that is her role in our marriage. She has the womb and the breast milk. I have the degrees and the honorable service.

        Sometimes I pitch in with the dishes. No matter how much “game” you run on your wife she’s just not going to be in the mood for romance after a long day of running the house and breastfeeding. Sometimes I want her to be more in the mood, so I take extra measures. Yes, she will always submit to me if I command it, but sometimes you want more than submission, you want romance.

        Sometimes she asks me for help with housework and I simply tell her no, while I sit back in the armchair with my slippers on and read the newspaper (Orthosphere) and sip on an Irish Whiskey. She submits. Sometimes it helps to merely stand near her while she works and have an adult conversation with her. In fact, that is always deeply appreciated. As good as doing the chore myself. Women sure love to talk. Even an extreme introvert like my woman.

        As a young man you need to keep questioning the church, your religion, and your teachers. This is a good start. But you need to above all question yourself. You are a young man- so you say, and so it seems. You are prone to misreading things like the article you cited as proof of feminized Christianity. You are prone to misreading and misunderstanding A LOT.

        Question yourself. Be skeptical of your heart. It is deceitful. Seek God first and a wife may be added to you. She might even be a virtuous one.

        Or she might be a Gomer. If I were Catholic I might say Gomer is the patron saint of our age. (FYI, I am joking about Gomer; young men are apt to misread these kinds of jokes.)

      • I read the second link now. jonakc1, I suspect you are Charles from the comment on the second link. It is unfortunate you didn’t get an answer but many bloggers fire and forget. Your comment was not deleted there. Are you sure he asserted that hoping for a P31 wife is sinful? Are you sure you read P31 correctly? I am willing to talk to you about it. I left a comment on your defunct blog with my email address.

        The article was pretty funny in light of my advice stemming from the first article. Whoever sent it to you is on to something, I think. The author speaks to what HE’S learned about HIMSELF through marriage. He by the way does not say it is a sin to insist your wife does the dishes. In fact, he says some of the things I said about helping your wife be in the mood! Either I, the author, and the friend who sent you the article are all effeminate Christians, or we’re on to something.

      • he said it was wrong for a man to come home andexpect his wife to cook dinner etc ( aka run the home…)
        he thinks him reading a book while his wife washed dishes is wrong
        yet on other posts he says he irons while his wife rests, he on weekends cooks the meals, takes care of the girls while his wife rests…

        so basically whenever he is at home he is the homemaker, his wife or him do not seem to think him working all day is him serving his wife…

        the previous article clearly says that cooking, cleaning , homemaking are all the man’s duty
        and in the exmaples he gives he cannot even fathom telling his wife to do the dishes…

        this is what confuses me
        conservatives like Acts 29 etc claim that the bible has not changed
        yet if you look at what the church teaches husbands today
        compared to 50 years ago, it is vastly different…

        lets just say for most of history, running the home was never taught to men, and men never discussed domestic duties as these men ,CBMW , Chandler ( men must do domestic duties so wife is free to explore her gifts… aka work)

        so it seems like God has changed, his view on marriage has changed

        many women in Asian cultures would see the Godly women of today as selfish as they make their husbands do the homemaking role whenever they are home, while they relax…

        I have seen this taught at church
        by these groups
        heck Jared Wilson ( Chandlers book writing bud) has advocated for gender role reversal….

        all these Christians are against gay marriage
        yet perfectly fine with men pretending they are women….

  16. I am alone here, when I question churches for these beliefs, and ask them to back it up with scripture
    they block me
    or tell me I am not Christian…

    CBMW/Boundless types are the worst…

    • i hear you.

      welcome to our little corner of the web where we talk about this daily. we’re kindred spirits. compatriots.

      who will save us?

      you’re not alone

      • in fact his wife is so feminist, that in public areas she refuses to change diapers or take her daughters to the bathroom or clean them, and instead makes her husband take them to a men’s bathroom…
        I have seen these types of wives at my church as well
        once the youth pastor was teaching a group of us teens
        wife is not a youth leader
        but insisted that husband change the diapers and teach at the same time!!
        if he did not do it her husband is critiqued for not being a good servant…

        these guys say it is wrong to treat your wife as a servant
        but theother way around is biblical

        and because they only associate tasks God has commanded women to do with service, only homemaking etc is servanthood

        hence wive’s are never asked to help their husbands or let their husbands relax by ensuring they work a job, spiritually lead, life the heavy stuff- so her husband is less burdened and in the mood for sex…

        aka women get husbands help to do her role
        not other way around…

        it used to be
        husband did his role
        woman did her role..
        case closed, no gender confusion

        it is no coincidence that the blurring of roles leading to the acceptance of gay marriage…

      • Honestly, I somewhat feel that anyone who needs special training on how to interact with women is already hopelessly lost.

        Do men really go to Christian websites or their pastors to learn whether or not they should do the dishes or vacuum?

        Just because you do the dishes every once in a while, doesn’t mean you’ve become your wife’s slave. If she’s doing something else and the dishes need to be done, just do them. If you’ve been working hard all day, are tired, and she’s been home and they’re not done, just ask her to do it when she has the time. If she gets bitchy, then friggin’ nut-up and stand-up for yourself. Trust me, she won’t leave or stab you in your sleep because you have one fight (probably). Take the basic principles from this story and apply it to pretty much everything. This is all common sense. Are things really this far gone? I’m probably not much older than you are and am not married, so maybe I shouldn’t talk, but really despite what a lot of people say women aren’t sexy space aliens or fembots who are of a different order of being than men.

        Honestly, the woman problem is huge (I’ve known and dated some AWFUL women in my time), but I think we have bigger fish to fry at this point.

        Leave this church and stop going to liberal Evangelical websites for woman advice, especially those geared toward young people, and remember that just because a girl doesn’t put out doesn’t mean she isn’t using sex as a weapon. This is a huge problem in a lot of youth oriented churches and movements (Does Young Life still exist? I’m getting old). Cock teases are the worst type of women and they infest many a modern church. Avoid them like the plague.

        I think we all need to know a lot more about how your church works (though of course my standing advice to every human on the planet is to become Catholic and join the fight against modernism, but I’ll pick my battles here) and you before we give advice.

        But if you go to one of those churches that meets in a gym or something, whose pastor looks like he’s about 12 years old, there’s shitty rock music playing during service, and everyone dresses like they’re going bowling, then you’re doing Christianity wrong, leave now and find a proper church (a thousand curses upon you Mark Driscoll!).

      • jonakc1,
        I believe there are some confessional and Independent Baptists that follow the traditional understanding of patriarchy. I don’t have any details but I’m sure google does.

      • I provided you my email address on your blog in a comment there. Feel free to contact me.

        Let’s be mission oriented, sir.

        1. Get yourself right with The Lord and your relationship with him. Study and pray.
        2. Get yourself right with your family and your relationship with them. Find wise counsel if you can.
        3. Build healthy relationships with friends, including single women.
        4. Now that you are equipped with a solid faith and strong family resources, begin to choose a wife using the criteria you’ve found in the Bible. Make sure you’re meeting the criteria of a good husband as well.
        5. Select a wife. Be very specific to her about your requirements of her and your self-standards as a husband during the courtship phase. If you think she should agree to certain Biblical statements such as, “The wife is the help-meet and submissive servant to the husband, and the husband is the head of his wife and family and must be willing to give up his life like Jesus,” then do it. Get her to agree to those scriptural passages, or no deal honey bunny.
        6. After marriage, try to find a church that will support such a traditional marriage, a church where you will not be told you are a “chauvinist” for being a biblical husband and demanding a godly wife. (You might not find such a church without having to move around the country. Been there, done that.)
        7. Don’t come off so victimized and angry anymore. Meet the Satanic death cult of American modernism like a Mighty Man of Valor. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    • “[When I] ask them to back it up with scripture they block me or tell me I am not Christian…”

      Sounds like you are contending with liberal, pseudo-evangelicals. They sound conservative, but are not.

      You need to find a non-liberal church. They do exist.

  17. Pingback: Father Knows Best: Entitlement-Mentality Ingrates Invasions Edition | Patriactionary

  18. I’m sorry, but if you seriously think theological liberals aren’t going to claim they they’re the ones who are interpreting the Bible in its plainest sense, you’ve already lost. Sola Scriptura is weak and ahistorical.

    Don’t believe me: I’ve actually seen Rom. 13:1 used as a defense for homosexual unions (what exactly should we call them? because I’m not calling them marriages.)

    To BillMacEneaney: you’re not a Catholic “traditionalist.” You’re a Catholic. Period. What you’ve written has been the Church teaching for 2000 years and STILL IS no matter what corrupt clergy, or heretics, or the media, or any of our enemies say.

    • I’m sorry, but if you seriously think theological liberals aren’t going to claim they they’re the ones who are interpreting the Bible in its plainest sense, you’ve already lost. Sola Scriptura is weak and ahistorical.

      That’s a non-sequitur. You’re basically saying that because the Protestant system cannot produce a consensus, it’s a failure.

      But that is to judge things by Roman Catholic standards. In other words, it’s question-begging. The Lord Jesus Christ himself said that his followers would experience persecution and would be despised by the world, and that his church would be infested with false teachers. He also said that his sheep would hear his voice (coming from Scripture, as taught by the true teachers) and be saved.

      Obviously, this is a large subject about which volumes could be written. As this is just the comment section of a blog post, we have to limit ourselves to brief statements of basic principle, as opposed to knock-down-drag-out proofs and refutations.

      • No, it’s an observable fact: Protestantism is divided and can’t agree on anything. I’m not sure you know what question begging and non sequitur mean. You appear to be guilty of the “No true Scotsmen” fallacy when you say that theological liberals can’t appeal to scripture too.

        Jesus never set up scripture as ultimate authority. That’s your assumption. What he did do was commission his Apostles to carry on his earthly ministry.

        Seriously, if you don’t want to continue the argument, fine. Just tell me and I’ll let it go, but as long as you continue to make statements like this, I’ll answer them

      • Catholics cannot agree on anything either. You guys just have this theory about apostolic authority continuing, Papal infallibility, magisterial authority, and so on.

        You and I have symmetric positions. You think my arguments are hopelessly lame, I think your arguments are hopelessly lame. Probably not much point in continuing.

      • Ok fair enough. I doubt this’ll be solved in the next few hundred years, but I’m off this week, don’t feel like going anywhere and am bored, so I guess I got a little carried away.

        But I do think it’s a good idea to engage with the Manosphereans, so I’ll look forward to your future thoughts on the subject.

      • One thing the Manosphere looks for is strength. And our God is a mighty God. Also, they know something is seriously wrong, so they might be more receptive to the gospel than the average man.

      • Catholic unity isn’t a matter of what a collection of otherwise atomized individuals happen to agree about intellectually. It is a matter of universal celebration of the sacraments and especially Holy Mass, by and through the successors of the apostles.

      • Are you saying the sacraments bring unity to the Church regardless of the faith, or lack thereof, of the people?

      • Alan,

        First off, despite being a Catholic chauvinist (and I don’t apologize for it, any more than I apologize for being a male chauvinist or a white chauvinist or whatever — I support my family, my tribe, and ultimately my own understanding of the truth, without apology) — despite that I’m not here to argue with you about your faith or to disparage your faith. I only posted to clear up what seemed to me to be a confused expression of Catholic self understanding of what Catholic unity is (and is not). The Church doesn’t understand her own incarnate unity (“catholicism”) the way you’ve expressed it.

        Any group of people will have things that unite them (even if only their basic humanity) and things that divide them, of course. Describing Catholic unity as primarily an intellectual thing is to mischaracterize it and, yes, to protestantize it. Yes, there is intellectual content, and authority, and also much more — but the source and summit of the Catholic faith is the Eucharist, not intellectual assent to doctrines (which in no way disparages the latter — it isn’t a disparagement of something to compare the Real Presence of Christ to it and to suggest that the former is more important).

        The commenter Anonymous Coward did a good job explaining this below.

      • I was asking the questions because Catholics regard Protestant disunity as an unanswerable argument against Protestantism, and for Catholicism. But Catholicism seems to me to be just as disunited as Protestantism, except that Catholic apologists claim that there is a sort of inner unity that escapes the naked eye.

        I was asking about the Catholic view of the nature of this unity.

      • Alan,
        FWIW I have enough experience with progressive Catholics not to give too much credence to triumphalism about putative doctrinal unity. When it comes to the life of the mind we are all modern people and tend to think and act like modern people. It turns out that the world’s billion Catholics happen to be, generally speaking, a lot like the other six billion or so people whom we live alongside.

  19. And AR: I know that you’re writing for the site, it’s your article, and I’m new (just found the Orthosphere actually. some good stuff), but you answering Cui’s points with internal edits, the bulk of which are one or two sentences with no substance dismissing entire paragraphs of substantive argument, is a bit classless.

    Cui comes off as bit condescending, for his part, and you two seem to have something of a history, but that’s no reason to just brush off long, well thought-out arguments.

    I know I’m late, but I’d really like to discuss how you answer people who play the “my Bible verse can beat up your Bible verse” game that Protestants like to engage in. Ever hear of Shelby Spong? If not look him up. Guy is not a Christian by any reasonable definition of the word, indeed is viciously anti-Christian, but still claims his world view is somehow grounded in the Bible.

    As awful a pope as Francis is, the Magisterium and Sacred Tradition prevent him from doing too much harm (at least as far as Doctrine goes; he’s already done a great deal of harm to both individual souls, the Faith, and the sovereignty of Europe, but we live in dark times), and he DEFINITELY can’t say “Doctrine X is now not X, because I’m the friggin’ Pope!” If you think so you just don’t understand how Tradition, Biblical Authority, and Papal Infallibility work.

    • Jim, Cui is a sedevacantist.
      It’s doesn’t really seem to matter much if the formal “on the books” doctrine hasn’t changed. If Catholicism is true, Francis’ church will probably lose most Catholic souls. For crying out loud they just made Catholic divorce / sham anullments EASIER to get! EASIER! With, of course, no corresponding push to shore up teaching at the basic, parish level so the hundreds of thousands or millions of phony-baloney annullments stop.
      It’s hard for me not to conclude that Cui is right – this isn’t the Church.

      • Trad-leaning Catholics often seem to think that the progressive practice of papering over doctrine with ‘pastoral’ initiatives is something new. It isn’t. Progressives in the Church were doing it long before the sexual revolution, Vatican II, and the changes to the liturgy, to wit —

        https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/29-qualms/

        But I’ve never seen a sedevacantist claim that Pius VIII wasn’t really the Pope, and that the Holy See has been vacant since 1829.

      • Zippy, this is the best I can come up with. The sexual revolution teachings threaten to send lots of Catholics to hell. Maybe most. Arguments on usury which laymen can’t understand anyway can’t affect very many people. I don’t have any money to loan if my big Catholic family takes all my money.

      • Bruce B:

        Arguments on usury which laymen can’t understand anyway can’t affect very many people.

        That’s what your great grandchildren will say about contraception, and chastity more generally.

        Usury is pervasive and is not esoteric or hard to understand — certainly no moreso than inchastity. Its apparent opacity has been painstakingly cultivated by progressives over a period of centuries; it is not inherent to the subject.

      • Yeah, I gathered that from his posts. I’m not quite sure what your point is in telling me.

        While I’m sympathetic to sedevacantists, and have been very close to just rage quitting the Church several times (seeing a picture of JPII kissing that Koran makes me want to puke), I still think they’re in the wrong, if only from a purely practical perspective.

        If you try to explain to explain to an average person you meet at work or wherever that Francis isn’t the pope, they’re just going to think you’re a crazy person. Sedevacantism is almost purely an American phenomenon and hasn’t attracted people in large numbers. It also plays right into the Modernists’ hands since they just dismiss arguments as coming from “outside the church” made by those “who are rebelling against their Mother.” If you think this legalistic attitude is also extended towards “Catholic” organizations like Catholics for Choice, or to Mohammedans, Hindus, and (most especially) Jews then you don’t know how the infiltrators operate. It’s a lot like “Christians” who know no nothing about historical Christianity or the Bible, but still are quick to say “Judge not” or “wouldn’t Jesus just forgive” and similar asinine things. Just listen to the tenor of the Catholic Answers apologists whenever they deal with someone defending Tradition, and then compare it to how they treat Atheists and Protestants. The problem is deeply rooted, but sedevacantism isn’t the answer.

        The Great Apostasy probably is here and that’s all the more reason the stay and fight (yes I know you guys don’t think you’ve left, but honestly, gimme’ a break).

        Francis will hopefully be dead soon and God willing someone more suitable will take his place. It seems as though the latest Islamic invasion is breaking up the EU. Hopefully (pray people), this will cause a backlash the elites weren’t expecting and shift the whole continent to the right politically. It’s already happening in Germany, a country populated with cowed and lukewarm people if there ever was one, much sooner than I had thought. Once the Vatican sees that Francis’ pseudo-Communist vision has failed, they’ll have no choice but to clean up their act. With luck, this political shift will allow for the replacement of the homosexual mafia that is the current high level clergy. How can any replacement take place if all the good seminarians are in the Society of Pius X or The Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen? Not to mention that due to such small numbers, it’s difficult for Catholic societies not in good standing to reach out to lay people. I’m not saying that the next pope will be Urban II or Pius X (at this point I’ll settle for a Leo X or Alexander II; with all their flaws, at least they had balls), but there’s still hope.

        At least this isn’t the time for the apathetic or weak-willed. In other words, they have us surrounded, so they’re not getting away this time. Just keep firing shots, you’re bound to hit someone who deserves it.

        And I think everyone can take comfort from the fact that John Calvin is deservedly burning in Hell right now.

      • And I think everyone can take comfort from the fact that John Calvin is deservedly burning in Hell right now.

        Everyone, Catholic or non-Catholic, who has repented of their sins and trusted in Christ alone to forgive their sins, is in Heaven.

        John Calvin, thank God, is now safe from all Catholic cheap shots.

    • [Replying to Jim’s comment of 6:28 am] This is an ancient and vast debate, and the comments section of a blog post is no place for a full discussion. The comment by Mr. C to which I was responding was not a well-thought-out argument, but rather standard-brand Catholic boilerplate, albeit expressed creatively. Since there was no point in rehashing vast arguments, I simply indicated the basic nature of my disagreement.

      The essence of the dispute is this: Opposing Protestants, Catholics make two basic claims: That their specific Church organization (an entity with an address, a website, and a specific boss) was explicitly given authority by God to define Christianity, and that Protestantism, lacking this authority, has produced mass confusion.

      This is an interesting claim, and at first glance appears plausible, but the plausibility disappears on closer examination. The claimed authority is clearly self-serving, and cannot be verified with any certainty. And the confusion of Protestantism is greatly exaggerated by Catholic partisans, who also downplay the widespread confusion within their Church.

      • Ummmm ok. Did you really think that I didn’t know the crux of Catholic/Protestant differences?

        I’ll take this as “I don’t feel like talking about it anymore” to my first point and “don’t know” to my second.

        Seriously, if you really think that you can write about how your brand of Protestant Christianity is the right one and that the other several million people adhering to the EXACT SAME PRINCIPLES have come to different conclusions, indeed opposite conclusions, are just wrong, and not have someone call you out, then you’re dreaming.

        But like I said, your post, just don’t expect this to not happen every time you write on the subject.

        As far as the Manosphere goes, I’ve always thought it was a bit of a funny place, more amusing than serious, but I’m glad the main sites have become about more than just chasing pussy and hating fat chicks (though everyone should hate fat chicks). Roosh is just a hustler, but guys like Quintus (from Roosh’s site) and Vox seem like the real deal to me, so maybe you’re on to something. But you’re going to have to answer the “Bible Christian Conundrum,” for lack of a better phrase, to people who are a lot more skeptical and a lot more cynical about Christianity than I am. If only you had some ancient intellectual tradition to draw on that’s been defending the material and spiritual life of European Civilization against enemies numerous and powerful for 2000 years….

      • Well, that’s a Catholic chauvinist for you. He thinks his Organization is the only one that’s got the goods.

        As for the Manosphere being skeptical, Rome has a lot more stuff to be skeptical about than Protestantism.

      • My point was that you’re going to have to actually convince people and your arguments as they stand don’t cut it, even for other types of Christians, let alone atheists, and an especially hedonistic and nihilistic variety of atheism is very strong in the Manosphere.

        But like I said, we’ll have to agree to disagree, and I look forward to some ideas on how you plan on engaging with them. Future article maybe?

        Best.

      • Alan Roebuck wrote:

        Catholics make two basic claims: That their specific Church organization (an entity with an address, a website, and a specific boss) was explicitly given authority by God to define Christianity, and that Protestantism, lacking this authority, has produced mass confusion.

        Not quite right, because you have missed the main point, but what you have said above is true.

        The main point is that the Protestant Faith is *different* from the historic Christian Faith, and not only different, but *deficient*.

        The Protestant Faith is all intellectual. It is just in your head. You must agree with a set of intellectual propositions: Jesus Christ is God, He has always existed, He is the 2nd Person of the Holy Trinity, He was crucified, died, and buried, and then rose from the dead, etc.

        Certainly, the historic Christian Faith (Catholicism and Orthodoxy) agree with all of that. So you Protestants are not wrong to assert that every Christian must give his intellectual assent to those logical propositions.

        But the Christian Faith is *not only* logical and intellectual. Just as the human person has intellect, he also has a physical body. Humans are not disembodied souls — pure intellects — as angels are. Humans are both body and spirit. Our flesh is a very real part of who and what we are. Our flesh is not insignificant .

        The historic Christian faith addresses both the human intellect and the physical human body. It includes all of those intellectual propositions that you fancy in your “confessional” Protestant denominations. But it *also* includes our flesh. All of the sacraments involve physical elements: water, bread and wine, laying on of hands, etc.

        Think about the poor retarded individual, who cannot understand. Perhaps he is so intellectually stunted that he cannot “make a decision for Christ”, or “say the sinner’s prayer”. He certainly cannot decide for or against the Westminster Confession (for example). But he is certainly capable of being baptized!! And since he can eat and drink, he can receive our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, and thus receive the promises that Jesus gave associated with that *Blessed Sacrament*.

        The historic Christian faith is certainly full of intellectual content, to which you must give your intellectual consent (if you are able), and which you must not explicitly reject. But it is not merely a religion of the brain and intellect only. It is sacramental. It is a religion for the whole human person — body and soul — intellect and physicality together.

        But Protestantism isn’t that. Protestantism, in all of its various forms, is a religion for the mind only. Your emphasis on “confessionalism”, rather that the sacraments, is proof of this assertion. Confessionalism is much more important to you, and to your Protestant sects, than the historical Christian sacraments are. It is confessionalism which you emphasize, rather than the historical Christian Sacraments. It is the sine qua non of your set of Reformed Protestant sects.

        I know. I was once Reformed.

        As a Reformed Protestant, strongly believing in God’s Sovereignity, you would do well to study Thomas Aquinas. You will find that Aquinas supports all of the Truth that draws people to the “Reformed Faith”, if you actually read him. There is a lot of Truth in the Reformed Faith. There is a lot of Truth in TULIP. But there is also error mixed in.

        Today is the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross. You Protestants know nothing about this particular Feast. You don’t celebrate it. Yet scripture is full of references to how the cross is central to the Christian Faith. (e.g. Gal 6:14) It is very good that Protestants do not deny the centrality of the cross. But they do not fully recognize all of the implications of the cross either.

        Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, after eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In Hebrew, “to know” is a euphemism for sex. It means to have an intimate encounter with. To have an intimate encounter with evil is to have committed evil.

        Adam and Even were expelled from the Garden of Eden lest they eat from another tree, the Tree of Life. Cherubim and flaming swords prevented Adam and Eve from eating from the Tree of Life, lest they live forever in their sinful corrupted state. (Gen 3:24).

        But God loves humanity so much that He became one of us. He became Incarnate, as a human. He took flesh from the virgin, the Theotokos, and became man. And He did it specifically so he could die, crucified, nailed to a tree. Cursed is He Who hangs from a tree. (Gal 3:13)

        Do you not see? Do you not understand? Do you not see the parallels?

        The cross *is* the Tree of Life.

        The Tree of Life bears Fruit.

        The Fruit of the Tree of Life is God Himself — Jesus Christ.

        You can eat from this Tree (if you are Catholic or Orthodox). Its fruit is now available to all mankind — not only the Jews, but all the Gentiles as well.

        The Fruit of the Tree of Life is the Eucharist — Jesus Christ Himself.

        You can literally eat His flesh, which is True Food, and drink His blood, which is True Drink, and if you do so, He has promised that He will raise you up on the last day to eternal life. (John 6)

        There is nothing in the Eucharist about intellectual assent to logical propositions if you are not capable of such intellectual assent. But there is a great deal of physical activity, like ingesting, chewing, and swallowing. Even a severely retarded person, incapable of reason, can do it.

        Christianity is Incarnational. It involves physical stuff. This is appropriate. We are physical beings, with physical bodies. We are not disembodied spirits like the angels are. The True and Proper Religion for us must be suitably physical, in cognition of this fact. Yes, it has intellectual content, but it is more than merely a religion of the intellect alone.

        Protestantism — even Confessional Protestantism — *ESPECIALLY* Confessional Protestantism, is a religion for the intellect, but *not* for the physical body.

        Catholicism and Orthodoxy are the True Religion, encompassing both the intellect and the physical body. Catholicism and Orthodoxy are Incarnational.

        Protestantism is Gnostic and anti-Incarnational.

      • Protestantism, in all of its various forms, is a religion for the mind only.

        That’s obviously false. Obviously I cannot, in a blog comment, fully correct your error. But I can indicate in general outline what’s wrong with your assertion.

        According to Scripture, all the blessings of God flow from an individual’s faith, where faith, most fundamentally means “trust.” Biblical faith is trust in God, through Jesus Christ, that is based on an understanding of the things of God and an assent to them.

        Faith is trust, but trust based on accurate knowledge. If an individual lacks the intellectual ability to understand doctrine, he can still exercise faith by trusting Christ based on the understanding he does possess.

        When the individual has faith, then all of the physical activities of the Christian life, including Holy Communion and baptism, have benefits. When the individual lacks faith, they have no benefit at all, and can be positively detrimental (e.g., I Corinthians 11:29.)

        It’s interesting that you identify Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy as the true religion. A doctrinaire Catholic would have to reject Orthodoxy because they reject Papal infallibility and Romanist transubstantiation, for example. And a doctrinaire EO would have to reject Catholicism in like manner.

        What’s apparently going on is that RC and EO share a similar spirit, and so tend to look on one another fondly, while joining in reviling Protestantism. But where the rubber meets the road, they have to mutually excommunicate one another.

        Another thing: AC says that Catholicism is physical whereas Protestantism is only cerebral. But Protestantism claims to be physical also. Most Protestants believe they receive the body of Christ in holy communion, that baptism washes away sins (or at least brings one into the body of Christ), and so on. For a Catholic, these Protestant acts are invalid because they are not performed under the jurisdiction of Rome. That means that Protestantism is physical, just not in a way Catholics see as valid. That’s a long way from being “gnostic,” as AC claims. The best that AC can do is to disqualify Protestantism on a technicality because he cannot prove that Protestantism actually is “gnostic.”

      • I think he means something like Catholics and EO share the same basic soteriology and represent the historic church. The common view, right or wrong, among Catholics and EO is that Protestantism in the 16th century represented something fundamentally new.

        “When the individual has faith, then all of the physical activities of the Christian life, including Holy Communion and baptism, have benefits.”

        Interestingly, I’m not sure this differs from the Catholic and EO view.

    • [Replying to Jim’s comment of 6:28 am.] There is a huge difference between a lawless man like John Shelby Spong rejecting basic sexual ethics that is obvious to even the pagans, and godly Protestants differing over, for example, infant baptism. Not to say that infant baptism is unimportant, but it is not in the same solar system as the sinfulness of homosexuality, which is almost as basic as breathing.

      • You’ve seemed to have misunderstood me. I really wanted to just go on talking about the Manosphere problem, since I think that’s somewhere that Catholics and conservative Protestants have common ground, but I guess we can stick to this topic for a while longer.

        I’m not saying that Spong is right. I’m saying that the problem is people like him are not Christians at all, in fact that they’re nihilistic humanists at best, and ultimately worship the Prince of this World (a rose by any other name), BUT (and this is pretty much the main point of my whole argument and is something you’re going to have to answer, and you’re going to have to answer it to people who are a lot less sympathetic than me, like I said) BUT they can, have, and will use verses from the Bible to bolster their world-view. And if they can do so consistently enough to convince people they’re sincere, and they have for nearly a century now, then you’re going to have to defend proper interpretation against them using only the Bible. If you don’t convince the fence-sitters, they’ll just go church shopping, or, much worse, stay, drift ever further left, and remold your church in the world’s image, all the while merrily quoting their favorite Bible verses.

        So far, conservative Protestants have failed abysmally to maintain proper authority in moral matters. I’m not saying that the Church doesn’t have it’s problems, but at least it hasn’t started officially teaching that black is white yet; it’s intellectual tradition and teaching authority simply won’t let it: the Church has to consistently teach moral and spiritual truth, and be visible to the world, otherwise it wouldn’t be the Church. You can imagine what a doctrinal change on marriage, after 2000 years, would look like. It would effectively cancel out all the claims of Christianity. The minute the Church starts teaching that homosexual unions or abortions or whatever are ok, she’s no longer the church.

        An early tragedy in the long history of Sola Scriptura is the German Peasants War. In a nutshell, massive numbers of German peasants interpreted the Bible as teaching egalitarianism, organized people’s armies, and demanded reforms. Zwingli immediately backed them, but Luther just as quickly condemned them. Naturally the peasants were slaughtered en masse and their rights were restricted even further for the next two centuries.

        Zwingli was surely just as learned and intelligent a man as Luther, and the pleas of the Peasants are articulate, elegant, evoke sympathy, and are grounded in a huge number of Biblical verses. Whose interpretation was right?

        That’s why Sola Scriptura doesn’t work: the Bible is such a dense and meaningful book, that there is absolutely no reason someone can’t just “lawyer” their way out of its basic teachings by perverting its words. The teaching authority of the Church, a unified Church, needs to be there to prevent subtle twistings of Scripture.

        I’m not saying that there aren’t huge disputes on how to clarify, interpret, and define proper Doctrine, but they’ve always been with us. With Catholicism you’re on much better intellectual ground. If only people would stop leaving just because the Church is under attack both from within and without, victory would be almost easy.

        We can go back to my first question: based on scripture alone, why can’t Romans 13 be used to justify the tacit acceptance of one’s country’s sanctioning of homosexual unions or abortion?

        There’s also a presentation on Romans 1 by a apostate scholar making similar arguments but I’m too lazy to find it, and honestly any Biblically literate person can refute it in a few minutes so I’ll save it for later, but it’s a really good example of something that’s going to become more and more common.

      • [In response to Jim’s comment of 12:29 am]

        I’m coming to see that Catholic partisans regard the diversity within Protestantism as an unanswerable argument. 58 bazillion denominations, people can interpret Scripture any way they want, etc. Therefore only Catholicism is valid.

        I suppose it all comes down to God’s intent. If He intended Rome to be the authority over Christendom, then Protestant diversity makes Protestantism invalid.

        But if God intended something different, than Protestantism is not necessarily invalid.

      • That isn’t the only argument against Sola Scriptura, not by a long shot, and we haven’t even touched on Sola Fide yet, which, ironically, can be be effectively argued against using only scripture.

        Tell you what, since I doubt I’ll change your mind anytime soon, if you promise to start reading up on Ecclesiology and the Fathers, I’ll read whatever book you think makes the best argument for Sola Scriptura (eventually).

        I’ve had graduate classes in the Reformation, so I’ve read the major works and a lot of excerpts from the reformers, but these were history classes, so I’m a bit lost when it comes to modern works.

        In sticking to the topic of the Manosphere, I think a good way to begin a conversation would be to write an article for Return of Kings, since the site is both huge and open to submissions. I’m not talking a “sales pitch” type article trying to convince them to change their wicked ways and add some purpose to their lives (in fact, now that I look, there’s already one of these on the front page right now. and looking at the comment section, it’s going about as badly as you’d expect), but something like a description of the deeds of particularly heroic (in the military sense; all saints are heroic) saint, like Fernando III or Louis IX or anyone involved in the Reconquista or Turkish Wars. That would not only show them that Christianity is the only religion for men, but that it’s going to take Christian strength to repel the current islamic invasion (don’t forget that a lot of these guys are White Nationalists too), just like it always has.

        If you start an argument with these guys with “hey look! Not ALL of Christianity is feminized,” I’m thinking you’re going to attract slogan spouting net atheists real quick and you’re already granting a major concession to our enemies, since Christianity is by definition not compatible with most of the tenets of radical feminism; it’s not something we should even waste breath on arguing about.

        Take a page from Christ: teaching through stories is the best way to reach people.

  20. “That’s what your great grandchildren will say about contraception, and chastity more generally.”

    Are you saying the future of the Catholic Church is a steady decline into more and more impiety? If so, what’s the use of its teaching authority?

    • Bruce B:

      Are you saying the future of the Catholic Church is a steady decline into more and more impiety?

      No, I am saying that usury (and property sins more generally) are neither more difficult to understand nor less pervasive than contraception (and chastity sins more generally). Once you concede (falsely, as it turns out) that the former are esoteric and relate to decorative doctrine in the sky that doesn’t affect everyday people, you’ve already conceded the same about the latter.

      As for the rest, the truth is (and concretely, the sacraments are) there for anyone who actually wants to give up his own life and humbly seek the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The only guarantee is that this will remain so; not that pastors and princes of the Church will themselves be wise and holy.

      And this has always been the case, since the time of the Apostles.

  21. Pingback: Lightning Round – 2015/09/15 | Free Northerner

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