The Necessary Devastation of Good Friday

The Apostles didn’t understand Jesus until after the Resurrection. They couldn’t have understood him even then, had not his horrible death completely ruined all their notions about him, and left them utterly emptied of all expectation, all preconception, all pretense of comprehension.

Passion of the Christ 2: Resurrection Will Be The Greatest Story Every Told, Says Jim Caviezel ...

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How to Increase Priestly Vocations

I heard the other day driving along and listening to Catholic Radio that in some diocese or other, the Catholic Church had one priest for every 12,000 laymen.

The mind boggles, right?

I can’t cite to a source, because I can’t even remember what program I was listening to at the time.

Obviously, there are not enough priests. And this itself must be an important factor of the dearth of priestly vocations. Imagine you were thinking about taking a job serving 12,000 people regularly even as, say, a cashier. It’s a non-starter.

The Church needs more priests. Fortunately, the recipe is not hard to discern – although it is a fair bit of work to implement. But then, once the men of the parish were engaged in the overall project, it could get to be lots of fun for everyone.

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Dying, Jesus Suffered & Bore the Pain of All Sins; So, He Healed Them, All

On the Cross, Jesus in his omniscience knew, and so suffered, felt, endured, all the agony of all creaturely defections, and of all their vicious consequences.

Omniscience eternally and always knows all of that, of course. But in time, and in Jesus, he knows it particularly, and so, acutely, on the Cross. As a man, God knows all the pain of all his creatures, just as we know each our own pain. A staggering thought.

Indeed it is by the suffering of Jesus that omniscience knows the suffering of his creatures; that, i.e., the suffering of his creatures just is the suffering of Jesus. Matthew 25:40.

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On the Immaculate Conception

It seems clear as a matter of scriptural fact that Mary was immaculately conceived: Gabriel, who is in a position to know, said as much, in Luke 1:28. He could not have noticed or said that she was full of grace if there had been a jot of sin in her anywhere; for, being a defect of being, sin is an emptiness – a defect of fullness of grace. OK, so far so good.

But that I submit is not the real nub of the issue. It is, rather this: stipulated that Mary was indeed free of Original Sin from her very conception, why was that necessary? Why was it necessary that the Mother of God should be without spot or stain of sin? As Gabriel went on to say in Luke 1:37, all things are possible with God; so, why couldn’t God have raised up his Son from a sinful woman, or for that matter from some stone? Matthew 3:9.

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On Personal Discernment

I here now camp on to Alan’s most recent post on this topic.

Personal discernment is not of course for any partiscient creature – any creature, that is to say – ever optional. We are here below the orbit of the moon all at bottom, and obviously, left to our own devices, in figuring out what we should do. Such is the condition of Fallen man, alienate from the Truth of his Creator, so subject to Original Sin, ergo mistaken about moral reality, and thus misled – thus tempted, as temptable: as, i.e., concupiscent. This is not at all controversial. It is the perennial teaching of the Church, aye and of Israel. It is no more than what we all find to be the case, qua humans. Everyone whatever admits the truth of it, implicitly; for, in no other way might there be such a thing as a moral difficulty or question, such as we all always suffer, and that ever wrack our minds. So, to discourse upon it one way or another is feeble, beside the point, and so rather a waste of time. Nobody has any option but to do his best to discern the truth, and so the right way forward, according to his best lights. This is obvious. It is as obvious as arithmetic; nay, moreso.

Nuff said re that.

Nobody questions the inescapable requirement of all sentient creatures that they should exercise discernment. On that matter of discernment hangs the entire colloquy of freedom, sin, redemption, atonement, and salvation – which is to say, the entirety of soteriology, and of the practical Christian enterprise (also those of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam (and Taoism, that apotheosis of the protoevangelium)). So, never mind that. It is not the true question at issue.

The real question is whether in the process of discernment one should admit of correction or guidance from anything other than oneself. If the answer be no, it is ipso facto a repudiation of discernment per se; for, if our process of discernment allows for no influence from without us, why then it is a process, not of discernment properly so called, but rather only of adventitious self will. It is in that case, not discernment at all, but the opposite thereof: simple pride.

Which is to say, fantasy. Which is to say, solipsy.

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Further Study of Bruce Charlton’s Theory of Christian Epistemology

Bruce has more to say about Christian epistemology in his latest post, titled Should Christians hand-over their eternal salvation to… historians? Romantic Christianity at the cutting-edge.

He is wrestling with one of the two foundational issues of the Protestant Reformation: How do we know Christian truth? Who or what is the ultimate authority and source of our knowledge of Christian truth?

This is not just a historic, Reformation-era issue. Because contemporary times are characterized by the catastrophic failure of so many of society’s authorities, many, many people are wrestling with this vital question. Bruce is like the canary in the coal mine.

As in my pervious post on this topic, my comments are left-justified, and Bruce’s words and Scriptural quotations are block-quoted.



At the cutting-edge of experienced-life –

The Church = What (some) Historians Say.

All claims of knowledge reduce to intuition/s; but for traditionalist Christians, the baseline intuition is that The Truth is a matter of history; and history is known through the work of ‘historians’ – broadly conceived.


No, truth is a matter of What Really Happened. But What Really Happened is not available for us to inspect directly. We must rely on secondary sources.

But we do not believe these secondary sources just because they say so. They must make a persuasive case, based on generally accepted modes of reasoning and the common experience of their likely readers.

For example. Christian teachers should point to the written Word of God, the Bible. They must point to the actual words used, along with their conventionally accepted meanings. Sometimes the full meaning cannot be known without additional, specialized knowledge, such as the unique nuances of meaning possessed by the original Greek or Hebrew words, or by the unique cultural customs of ancient times to which the text of Scripture refers or alludes.

But in all cases, the meaning is a matter of publicly-available knowledge (even if highly specialized knowledge.) Continue reading

Examining Bruce Charlton’s Theory of Knowing Christian Truth

I do not know how many people lean toward the Romantic Christianity espoused by Bruce.

[I use his first name because of our long association and my personal concern for him.]

I suspect many people are sympathetic to his approach, which downplays history and formal church and theological organization in favor of a direct / personal apprehension of Christianity. If many are sympathetic to his doctrine, it must be analyzed.

I think that his approach identifies some real problems but provides a mistaken solution. And since I once had something similar to the religious confusion that he says he once had but has transcended, I continue to interact publicly with his doctrine.

Some, of course, will say I am beating a dead horse. Not so. The horse is very much alive to many people. If it is dead to you, read no further.

I have copied below the entirety of Bruce’s post entitled Me-Here-Now versus History – what kind of Christian are you? My comments are left-justified; his post and Scriptural quotes are indented and highlighted as quotes in the WordPress way.



Christians will find themselves – sometimes again and again – at a point where there is a stark awareness and apprehension of Me-Here-Now – a situation of direct and ‘intuitive’ knowing; rooted in a personal and first-hand experience, and a person to person relationship – typically in relationship to Jesus Christ.

This contrasts with traditional church-based knowing; which is rooted in historical discourse and ‘scholarship’ of various types; and is therefore second-hand (or third-/ fourth-/ fifth-hand…).

Church-knowing is indirect knowledge-about… rather than experience-of. It is something we learn and strive to remember… rather than apprehend with instantaneous clarity and conviction.


According to the Bible, a non-Christian starts becoming a Christian when he reads and believes what the Bible – -especially the Gospels – – says about Jesus. The Gospels are a true and accurate written account of what really happened in specific places at specific times.

According to the Bible, when some people learn more and more about Jesus by reading the true accounts about Him, the Holy Spirit begins to work in them, giving them spiritual life. Others do not so respond, evidently because the Holy Spirit chose not to work in them. This gives the new Christian, inter alia, the ability to have true faith (knowledge, agreement, trust) in Jesus. Continue reading

The Maximality Test Crushes the Great Heresies

The Maximality Test simply asks which of any two notions of God are greater, along some many dimensions of excellence. It turns out that in practice, the Test straightly demolishes the great Christological and Trinitarian heresies so prevalent in the early Church from AD 33 through AD 2022.

Let’s run through those perennial heresies in alphabetical order (rather than order of their allure, historical importance, foolishness, or wickedness), and see how they fare under the Test. Their descriptions are taken from the Infogalactic article on Trinitarian and Christological heresies.

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Clarifying the Protestant-Biblical Doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone

Christianity is under attack. It has always been so but the attack has ramped up in recent years. It is more important than ever for Christians to be strong in their faith.

Christians should know general apologetics, that is, the reasons why Christianity is true. But they must also know the tenets of the tradition to which they belong. Only then can they stand firm against the world, the flesh and the Devil.

The Orthosphere is ecumenical but members are allowed to express their beliefs. I express Protestant beliefs. Others can express their beliefs.

Roosh has a post titled What is Orthodox Christianity? In it, he objects to what he calls “the Protestant notion of ‘faith alone.’ “

He does not seem to understand the actual doctrine, which is justification by faith alone. And he’s not the only one. Clarification is needed.

I call it a Protestant-Biblical doctrine because it was not invented. It is expressed clearly in Scripture as I show below, although other Christian traditions find reasons to disagree.

I do not expect non-Protestants to know our doctrines. But many Protestants also do not know this crucial teaching. Perhaps this post will help them understand. Continue reading

The Devil’s Latest Dictionary, Part I

[In the spirit of Ambrose Bierce.]

Note: Most of these definitions assume a certain point of view without which they become incoherent.


Fundamentalist. Noun. When you believe your religion is true and / or you support your people. Synonyms: bιgοτ, deplorable, suprεmαcιsτ.

Mansplain. Verb. To be competent and confident.

Equity. Noun. More for us, less for you.

Democracy. Noun. A political outcome or system which gives results we like.

Fαscιsμ. Noun. A political outcome or system which gives results you like. Synonyms: ωhιtε sυprεmαcy, institutional rαcιsm.

Protestor. Noun. Someone publicly taking our side.

Rioter. Noun. Someone publicly taking your side.

Diverse. Adjective. More of us, fewer of you. Synonyms: vibrant, inclusive.

Tolerant. Adjective. Demanding things be done our way.

Intolerant. Adjective. Wanting things to be done your way.

Cμlτμrαl αρρroρrιατιοη. Noun. When you play with our toys and we hαtε it because we hαtε you.

Rαcιsτ.  1) (Archaic noun) One who hαtεs people only because of their rαcε. 2) Adjective. The quality possessed by anything nonωhιτεs don’t like. 3) Noun or Adjective. ωhιtε people and their activities and achievements.

Science. Noun. A discipline or study which confirms our beliefs.

Superstition. Noun. A so-called discipline or study which denies our beliefs.

Crιτιcαl Rαcε Thεοry. Proper noun. You bad, we good.

Whιτε Prινιlεgε. Noun. Your ancestors established the culture of their nation according to their preferences.

Hαtε. Noun. Disagreement with our doctrine.

Love. Noun. Agreement with our doctrine.