A Primer on Study Bible Polemics

This is in response to a comparison between the Orthodox Study Bible and the Geneva Bible.

In regard to the claim that justification is an ongoing process.

Point 1:  If we are justified (aorist) then how is it an ongoing state?  At best that is vague language.   The aorist tense suggests a completed action, not an ongoing one.  It seems the OSB is conflating “salvation” with “justification,” but Protestants do not hold that. The study bible says,

Faith is more than the conviction that something is true

This is classic Reformed 101.   Reformed define faith in a 3-fold way.  This is further evidence that for all of the irenicism, Orthodox simply do not bother to understand what Reformed teach.

Stated:  In its reaction to medieval Roman Catholicism Protestantism became allergic to the role of good works in salvation.

This is ironic since the Puritans are usually accused of being legalists.  We simply deny that works are the instrumental and efficient causes in our salvation.  How hard is that to understand?

About tradition:  Quick question:   give empirical verification that the traditions you have today are the same as the apostles’.  Do not employ the fallacy of asserting the consequent.

About the real presence:  essentially the Protestants are wrong because they are ambivalent on the real presence.  Maybe so, but that’s not an argument that it is logically true.  Also ironic is that the Scriptures suddenly become clear, objective, and literal when proving a pet doctrine.  But I come back to a question:  Is the divine nature present in the Eucharist?  Presumably the OSB will say yes.  Can the divine nature exist outside of a hypostasis, whether that of Father, Son or Spirit?   The OSB will have to say no because of the doctrine of enhypostasis.  This means logically that the hypostasis of Jesus is present.   But this becomes problematic when multiple Eucharists are being celebrated at the same time, for then we will have multiple hypostases of Jesus!  Nestorius didn’t even teach this!

Then there are the usual calls tha tProtestants need to own up to their own traditions.   Have these people not heard of the presuppositional school?   Of course Protestants know that.  We also know that our understanding isn’t infallible.

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4 comments on “A Primer on Study Bible Polemics

  1. Canadian says:

    “give empirical verification that the traditions you have today are the same as the apostles”

    Jacob, they do not need to be exactly the same. The apostles didn’t say the creed, or a host of other things. Tradition preserves the content of the apostolic faith. It is living and teaches the church along the way, just as the Acts 15 Council taught the church along the way.

    ” But this becomes problematic when multiple Eucharists are being celebrated at the same time, for then we will have multiple hypostases of Jesus”

    Not at all. As St John of Damascus affirms, it is not that Christ needs to descend to change the elements, but the bread and wine become the deified body and blood. So he does not become multiple because of various local eucharists.

    • ***Tradition preserves the content of the apostolic faith. It is living and teaches the church along the way, just as the Acts 15 ***

      Then tradition can neither be verified or falsified. And anything goes.

      *** but the bread and wine become the deified body and blood. So he does not become multiple because of various local eucharists.***

      That statement is exactly what I am talking about. If the Eucharist is the deified body of Christ, then it must exist in a hypostasis. That’s the whole point of the enhypostasis.

      • Canadian says:

        Thanks Jacob,
        Tradition is not a free for all, but the protecting intervention of the Holy Spirit. “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us.” Some things of course are traditions, but some things are Tradition. Sola scriptura has resulted in the proliferation of subordinate authorities and anything goes because the authorities and their teachings are only submitted to after ones personal agreement with said teachings.

        The Person is not reduced to the location of partaking, the bread and wine participate miraculously in the one divine Son. The elements are changed, not the Son. And we participate in the deified humanity of the Person of the Son, obeying St Paul and discerning the Lord’s body.

  2. Daniel says:

    “Orthodox simply do not bother to understand what Reformed teach.”

    I think you have forgotten how many ex-reformed people there are amongst the ranks of the Orthodox now. There are plenty of us who understand what the Reformed teach–we simply reject it–for many reasons and on many levels. I am reminded of an unpleasant conversation I had with a Marine captain I worked for when I was a 2ndLt:

    Captain: …explanation for his course of action…
    Me: Sir, I think that is the wrong course of action and here is why…
    Captain: …restates his course of action thinking that restating it is going to sway this silly young Lt.
    Me: Sir, I understood what you said the first time so it’s not that I don’t understand and need it reexplained–it’s that I simply don’t agree.
    Captain: …incredulous look…

    “About tradition: Quick question: give empirical verification that the traditions you have today are the same as the apostles’. Do not employ the fallacy of asserting the consequent.”

    Response by ways of another Marine analogy:

    There was a group of men stranded on a desert island and one day a big container of USMC uniforms, manuals, history books, etc. washed ashore. The group of men started their own “Marine Corps” and started interpreting the drill manual, the manual for courts-martial, the uniform regulations, etc. as best they could. They even got pretty good at some of the customs and courtesies and they did their level best to “be Marines” using what had washed ashore. One day they were rescued by an actual USMC unit who happened to be patrolling that part of the ocean. After being rescued the “Marines” from the desert island began to assert their legitimacy as Marines to the actual Marines who rescued them:

    Desert Island Marine (DIM): Well Sergeant thanks for rescuing us. Say, where do you think they’ll station us when we get back to CONUS?

    Actual Marine (AM): Um…nowhere. You’re not actually a Marine. What was you’re name again, Bill?

    DIM: You can call me sir. I am a major in the Marine Corps.

    AM: Right Bill. Did you go to Officer Candidate School in Quantico, VA? Or did your men go to basic training at Parris Island or San Diego?

    DIM: Well no. But we have the same USMC manuals and uniforms you have and we have followed them religiously to the best of our abilities.

    AM: OK, that’s nice, but that doesn’t make you a Marine. You have to actually go through our entry rites and learn to be a Marine and live a Marine life from the actual Marine Corps. The Marine Corps is not an interpretation of books, it is an actual historical institution that you are not actually a part of.

    DIM: I am incredulous. I have studied those manuals and books and worn this uniform every day for years and I’ll bet I can quote you large sections of the drill manual and drill my men just as good as the so-called “real Marine Corps.”

    AM: I guess that could serve you well after you go to Officer Candidates School and then go to The Basic School and then become a 2ndLt peon.

    DIM: What!? I will do no such thing. I know more about the Marine Corps than you ever will Sergeant.

    AM: That may be, but you’re not actually a Marine yet.

    DIM: Here. Let me show you how well I have interpreted this drill manual without any input from the “real Marines.” (Gathers his men and begins drilling them).

    AM: Please stop Bill.

    DIM: It’s Sir!

    AM: No, it’s Bill, Bill. And you’re doing everything wrong. You clearly have not been instructed in the nuanced art of calling drill cadence…

    DIM: That’s right. I read it out of a book.

    AM: Right. That’s why it is so bad. Your men are not covered and aligned correctly, they have no military bearing, and in short, they do nothing correctly. Now, if and when you and your men decide to live the Marine life the right way and do things according to the tradition of the Marine Corps, you may perhaps learn something.

    DIM: Tradition! I know that way back in 1775 [the 1st year of the Marine Corps] they didn’t have these fancy digital camouflage uniforms that you have now. How can you say that you’ve kept the “traditions” of the Marine Corps when you don’t even have the same uniforms as they did. And look at those weapons! Those are automatic weapons! Lt Presley O’bannon didn’t have automatic weapons–they had smooth bore muskets!

    AM: Are those observations supposed to overthrow the historical existence of the current USMC?

    DIM: …uh…

    AM: Listen Bill, just because we have adapted our uniforms and weaponry to the modern battlefield doesn’t mean that our historical veracity is undermined.

    DIM: Yes it does. There are all kinds of things that you do now that were not practiced by the first Marines. Therefore, there is no such thing as the “original” Marine Corps and our claim to be Marines is just as legitimate as yours.

    AM: (Sigh) This is getting silly Bill. Look, just because you found some books and have interpreted them to the best of your ability does not mean that you’ve interpreted them correctly. Furthermore, it still doesn’t even touch the fact THAT YOU ARE NOT ACTUALLY IN THE MARINE CORPS. You are making a category confusion here, Bill. The historical fact of the Marine Corps’ existence cannot be undermined by what you deem to be the “correct” interpretations of OUR books. Furthermore, thinking “correct” thoughts about OUR books is not the same thing as BEING a Marine.

    DIM: I’m going to go start my own Marine Corps when I get back home. And we’ll be the real Marines and everyone who joins will follow my interpretations of these books.

    AM: OK Bill.

    DIM: It’s Sir!!!

    AM: Right. Well Bill, there’s the shore. Get off my boat. If you ever want to become an actual Marine and join the 238 year-old tradition, just let us know.

    DIM: No thank you. (looking back as if he forgot something) Did anyone see my Protestant canon laying around somewhere…

    ———————————————-

    I’m sure some dismissive one-liner is headed my way…

    Out.

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