Sunday, December 28, 2008

Roman's 14 :Holy Days and Answering the Un-identifiable One. II

Recently the un-identifiable one released an all out attack at the Catholic Church for mandating Christmas as an obligatory Holy day. He says over and over in his diatribe against me that the apostles didn't teach it. The apostles didn't need it. The apostles didn't teach any of these things that Rome is teaching, then he comically appeals to Sacred Scripture of the New Testament and twists it to his own liking to refute the Catholic Church's position on the subject. He rattles off like a parrot that the apostles didn't do it, yet what he is doing is also unknown to the apostles; that is appealing to Scripture alone for his doctrines. The apostles were being guided by the Church and the Holy Spirit, which is still the case now. It happens to be the same Catholic Church then as now, and Scripture would at a later time, when it was written down, attest to that very fact. Yet the un-identifiable one uses a means and professes a doctrine that the apostles never did (Scripture Alone), and then he condemns the Catholic Church for doing the same. This is par for the course with this guy who knows not when he falls into a logical fallacy. But lets go back to the real issue at hand. Romans 14.

He continues to misuse Saint Paul in Romans 14. It is obvious that none of the Fathers are interpreting this passage of Scripture like he is doing claiming religions liberty He ignorantly insists that this passage is referring to the Church as well as the Jews. He also makes his ignorance well known in that he doesn't even know why Saint Paul is writing the letter to the Romans, nor to whom he is primarily aiming the letter at, nor who he explicitly targets in the letter at different times. I pointed out how Paul was talking about the Jews in Roman's 14:4-6, and their works of the law at the time. Yet he insists on stretching the text beyond its original intent.

He writes,

TF: The legalism of the Judaizers was the primary error being addressed, doubtlessly. Nevertheless, it is not only Judaizing legalism that is condemned by Paul's words - he does not limit his comments on diet and days to the Jews, but words his liberating doctrines generically.

TF: Plainly aimed at them, perhaps, and yet not limited to them. In fact, as noted above, the Jews aren't specifically mentioned in the chapter. What is truly absurd is to suppose that the Old Testament laws given by Moses with respect to days and meats are not binding but that brand new laws are binding! How bizarre! The former had the authority of God, the latter have only the authority of man. If observance of the former is not mandatory, much less so is the observance of the latter

TF: It wasn't written primarily for the Jews of the time, it was written primarily for the Romans, see the Title of the Book, or verse 7 of the first chapter of Romans, from which the title of the book was perhaps obtained. Furthermore, although it was primarily addressed to the immediate problem of Judaizers trying to impose those holidays, the explanation provided provides a shield against the modern legalism of Rome, which tries to imposes fasts and holidays on its members, in violation of this passage.

So we can see that he admits that Saint Paul is really primarily talking about the Jews of the time, yet he doesn't cease in his intention to make the text say something that is never does. Mainly he insists that we all have religions liberty and that there are no mandatory Holy days. This is what this guy is trying to get from these passages. It is truly amazing to see this guy trying to get something from the text that is simply not there. Saint Paul is talking not primarily, but directly to the Jews of the time. This is what Saint Chrysostom says, and lets just look at another source. Undoubtedly though this guy will dodge it in favor of his own hackneyed interpretation of Saint Paul. Here we see the great biblical Scholar Haydock state the following in reference to this particular passage of Roman's.

"Between day, &c. Still observing the sabbaths and festivals of the law. (Challoner.) --- And another judgeth every day. That is, thinks every day to be taken away, that was to be kept, merely because ordered under the Jewish law. And now since both they who keep days, or do not keep them; and they who eat, or who abstain, do these things which a regard to God, and according to their conscience, let no one judge, or condemn the one party, nor the other; in these things, let every man abound in his own sense. It is without grounds that some would pretend from hence, that Christians cannot be bound to fast, or abstain from flesh on certain days. The apostle speaks only of the distinction of meats, called clean and unclean, and of fasts or feasts peculiar to the law of Moses. It does not follow from hence, that the Catholic Church hath not power to command days of fasting, and abstaining, for self-denial or humiliation. (Witham) --- The apostle here treats only of the subject in hand, viz. the Mosaic distinctions of clean and unclean meats: and in this he allows, for that present time, each one to follow his own private judgment. St. Chrysostom observes that St. Paul did not wish the weak to be left to their own judgment in this, as in a point of no consequence; but that they should wait for a time."

It is complete fabrication for the un-identifiable one to use this passage as he is using it, that is very clear at this point despite the mangled rhetoric he continues to put forth. The fact is Saint Paul is speaking only to the Jews in this particular reference to feasts. This is a fact, say what you will. It never says anything about the Church, the liturgical calendar, nor the authority of the Church. He is speaking to the Jews here and the Jews only. It is not a "shield" against Rome's, or the Church's authority to proclaim Holy days as this guy claims.


Paul Hoffer said...

Just a query, since Mr. T-Fan did not post the comment I made to him on his blog, perhaps someone can answer it here. What is the difference between when the Catholic Church establishes a holiday and one of the Reformed denominations doing it?

The Westminster Confession, Chapter 21 "Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day," Article V states:

"The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear; the sound preaching, and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God with understanding, faith, and reverence; singing of psalms with grace in the heart; as, also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ; are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God: besides religious oaths, and vows, solemn fastings, and thanksgivings upon special occasion; which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner."

The Second Helvetic Confession
1566) Chapter 24 provides:

"The Festivals of Christ and the Saints. Moreover, if in Christian Liberty the churches religiously celebrate the memory of the Lord’s nativity, circumcision, passion, resurrection, and of his ascension into heaven, and the sending of the Holy Spirit upon his disciples, we approve of it highly."

Article 67 of the Church Order of Dordt (1618-19) specifically mandated the celebration of Christmas:

"The congregations shall observe, in addition to Sunday, also Christmas, Easter and Pentecost, with the following day; and since in most cities and provinces of the Netherlands, besides these there are also observed the day of Circumcision and Ascension of Christ, the ministers everywhere, where this is still not the custom, shall put forth effort with the authorities that they may conform with the others."

Both Calvin and Luther seemed to be ok with Christmas (although I think Luther may have equivocated on that) Dr. Francis Turretin, T-fan's favorite Reformer buddy, opines on the subject of Fourth Commandment in his "Institutes of Elenctic Theology":

"The question is not whether anniversary days may be selected on which either the nativity, or circumcision, or passion, or ascension of Christ, and similar mysteries of redemption, may be commemorated, or even on which the memory of some remarkable blessing may be celebrated. For this the orthodox think should be left to the liberty of the church. Hence some devote certain days to such festivity, not from necessity of faith, but from the counsel of prudence to excite more to piety and devotion."

Thus, it would appear that Mr. T-fan is being inconsistent in his condemnation for the all the above Protestant authorities seem to suggest that their churches that adhere to Calvinism are free to madate their congregations to celebrate the holiday of Christmas if they wanted to.

Finally, while T-fan is citing to St. Paul, I am surprised that with his attitude, he didn't condemn Our Lord for participating in Hanukkah at Jn 10:22, a holiday that he would certainly not find in his redacted version of the OT.
After all, he doesn't believe that 2nd Maccabees is biblical either and that is the only place you can find that holiday in the OT.

Anonymous said...

Question: Wasn't January 6th Theophany originally a celebration of Christ's Incarnation? And wouldn't the Incarnation have always been interpreted to correspond to his conception? So wouldn't Jesus have been conceived in January and born in like September? I think it is just historical fact that the ROMAN Catholic Church changed things from how the EASTERN Orthodox Church originally had them. Dropping the celebration of Christ's Incarnation back from January 6th to December 25th and then changing it from a commemoration of his conception to his birth, was clearly a late act performed by Rome for the purposes of making Christ's birth correspond to Saturnalia. That's why I celebrate the season as the season of Christ's Incarnation but not December 25th as his actual birthday.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Beowulf (one of my favorite names), you are right that the very early Church did celebrate the Theophany of Our Lord. However, it was not the feast of Our Lord's incarnation, it was the feast of His baptism/circumcision. This was when baptismal waters (holy water) and candles (I think) were blessed for the liturgical year that followed. If I recall rightly, it is even mentioned by Hippolytus around 200 AD.

God bless!

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