Archive for September, 2009

Church Authority, Argument 5: Private Judgment and Authority

September 24, 2009

In two recent posts on separate blogs, Catz and David Nilsen both responded to my arguments concerning private judgment and church authority.  They articulated similar positions, trying to present an alternative to either (a) the idea that believers are entitled to an unqualified private judgment, or (b) the idea that the Church has inherent authority.  In this post, I will argue that their responses are unsatisfactory because they (1) ultimately affirm that private judgment is the final word in doctrine, (2) fail to correctly distinguish “inherent” from “underived”, and (3) falsely charge Catholic Christians with the use of private judgment.

(A note of encouragement to the reader: this post is fairly short–by my standards, at least–but has long footnotes.  Do not be alarmed by the size of the scroll bar, because roughly half the space in this post is occupied by footnotes.) (more…)


Church Authority, Argument 4: Sola Scriptura vs. Prima Scriptura and Icons

September 4, 2009

In this post, I (1) distinguish Prima Scriptura and Sola Scriptura as distinct doctrines about Scripture and tradition; (2) argue that, given Orthodoxy’s theological approach, it is consistent to claim both “Scripture is the sole source of doctrine” and “it is Orthodox doctrine that icons are a necessary part of the Church”; (3) answer objections to the Orthodox teaching that icons are necessary; and (4) argue that in order to show that the Fathers believed Sola Scriptura, a Protestant would have to argue that the Fathers taught the doctrine of private judgment (which they do not).

(1) Prima Scriptura and Sola Scriptura

I was recently asked by Catz to answer this rather interesting question:

Can you tell me where icons are upheld in Scripture to the same degree as the 7th council does? Even going so far as declaring anathema those who do not venerate icons? Where in Scripture is the veneration of icons (in the Eastern Orthodox sense) required? (more…)

The Wheels on the Dialectic go Round and Round…

September 3, 2009

“What we see, therefore, is a strangely disjointed history.  These modern, secularist assumptions, which are questioned and brought into doubt more and more, certainly pervade much if not all the radical death of God theologies of the 1960’s.  The question, which becomes the central question that this volume seeks to address, is the following:  How do we get from the post-Christian, post-Holocaust, and largely secular death of God theologies of the 1960’s to the postmodern return of religion? Put otherwise, what happens when we move from the early claim that deconstruction is the hermeneutic of the death of God to the subsequent effort at deconstructing the death of God?  What happens when the critical linking of the death of God with deconstruction comes full circle? And finally, how is it that this question of the return of religion is transmitted not by theologians and/or religious leaders but by and through philosophers and cultural theorists who heretofore had little or no expressed interest in religious or theological questions?”

–After the Death of God, John D. Caputo, Gianni Vatitimo, ed. Jeffrey W. Robbins p. 12-13.