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Posts posted by cksalmon

  1. 4 hours ago, Spammer said:

    I don't speak for the RCC.  I'm only explaining my understanding of what the Church teaches.

    Sure. I wouldn't expect anything else. 


    Fundamental to that is my belief that objectively true truth is objectively true, even if there isn't a human mind to perceive it.  God is the objectively true truth.  Whether you, me or the RCC asserts that Y is objectively true, or 'that Z', is irrelevant to whether Y or Z are objectively true. 

    I agree. 

    It appears that we agree to the following set of statements:

    (7) X is true

    (8) X is true even if the Magisterium doesn't make an official pronouncement that X is true

    (9) In the absence of the Magisterium, X is true 

    So, I guess the sticky wicket is our our knowing that X is true. 


    If the RCC is God's appointed arbiter, then the Church has a special role in perceiving and defining what is objectively true for human minds using language.  Whether the RCC infallibly defines a truth, or whether you or I agree with what the RCC declares to be objectively true, is irrelevant.  If Y or Z are true, then they're true.  If the RCC is  God's appointed arbiter and the RCC were to disappear, Y or Z would still be objectively true.

    That's a big if, to my Protestant mind. We've already established (to our own satisfaction, at least) that objective truth exists without any necessary reference to the Magisterium. Or, to put it another way, we are able to utter true propositions without reference to the Magisterium. But what assurance do we have that our utterance that X constitutes knowledge that X? Maybe our utterances constitute a true belief, but not a justified true belief. Maybe they're just accidentally true. 

    You appear to interpose a very subjective step to justify your knowledge that X. 

    On 12/8/2018 at 11:20 AM, Spammer said:

    [Choosing an arbiter is] a subjective determination. We can’t escape it. We examine the evidence and decide who is the likely candidate. Then, we submit.

    How does your admittedly subjective personal choice to accept, let's say, the Magisterium as your authority regarding X, get you to objective knowledge that X? Or, does it? How does a subjective determination on your part lead to justified true belief that X?

    I don't see how your solution provides any surer footing than any other paradigm. It seems as if you're saying (and correct me if I'm wrong), well, at least I can point to something external to myself. But, arguably, I can, too (the Bible). And LDS claim to as well (revelation). 

    All the attendant polemics aside, this is a fascinating discussion. Thanks for contributing, Spammer. 


  2. On 12/5/2018 at 11:36 PM, Maidservant said:

    Would you say that this was done "once" (or?) within historical time, and doesn't have to be "redone" for each individual person?  I actually love what you've described here and I can see it (although my own view of the Bible probably wouldn't match anyone's here of any flavor).

    Because there is this sense of EACH person finding out for himself (in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), in the course of their own life.

    Great question. Hmm. 

    Let me think about that. 



  3. 2 hours ago, Spammer said:

    Yep, that’s it.

    So, again, not to be pedantic, you're inferring that the John 6 passage has been infallibly interpreted rather than having been told such explicitly by the Magisterium? 


    2 hours ago, Spammer said:

    My claim is there must be an arbiter whom we reference, if we validly want to remove ‘merely true for me’ from our personal assertions of truth.

    Spammer, some things you've written seem to strongly suggest that the Magisterium confers the property of X's being objectively true (whatever that is) by fiat. 


    Consider the following:

    (1) At time t, RCC declares that X is true for everyone, everywhere, at all times

    Prior to time t, is X objectively true?


    Or, consider this:

    (2) At time t1, cksalmon asserts that Y is objectively true

    (3) At time t2, RCC asserts that Y is objectively true

    Is cksalmon's assertion at t1 correct?


    Or, what about this?

    (4) cksalmon rejects the authority of the Roman Catholic Magisterium

    (5) cksalmon believes and claims to know that 

    (6) Spammer defers to RCC's assertion that Z and only consequently believes and claims to know that Z

    In what respect does the belief that Z differ between cksalmon and Spammer? 

    In what respect does the claim to know that Z differ between cksalmon and Spammer?

  4. 3 minutes ago, MosiahFree said:

    I think Mormonism is compatible with much of what Michael Kruger says in that lengthy article (really it is a book chapter). Specifically his assertion that God provides a certain epistemological environment that allows his church the ability to reliably identify the canon and the criteria for making that identification (providential exposure, attributes of canonicity, and internal testimony of the Holy Spirit) would be welcome within Mormonism.

    There are always devils lurking in the details though, Kruger frames that chapter within a context of Reformed Epistemology that would take a lot of massaging to square with Mormonism. The Book of Mormon gets much more specific about doctrines than the New Testament (i.e. baptism) and as a result we see Mormonism being strongly attached to philosophical doctrines like incompatibilism whereas a Reformed thinker like Kruger would be far more inclined towards compatibilism.

    I think what discussions of “authority” between Mormons and Protestants really comes down to is Sola Scriptura. What Kruger lays out doesn’t really address the idea that the canon is an “ultimate authority” in the way Sola Scriptura makes scripture the terminal step in the chain of command, so to speak. I’d feel comfortable saying that the criteria Kruger lays out gives a very strong case that every book within the Book of Mormon (though not the entire standard works) is as canonical as the Gospels, or the Torah, or the Pauline Epistles; I’m sure Kruger in response would have to clear his throat and kindly but firmly disagree, yet the discussion would revolve around individual works and if they met the criteria and what is meant by “apostolic” and it would not revolve around if scripture was a final authority.        

    Thought-provoking, MosiahFree. 👍

  5. 18 hours ago, Spammer said:

    Edit: If you’re looking for a verse by verse list of official, infallible interpretations, you won’t find one, for the reasons I’ve explained.]

    Fair enough. 

    18 hours ago, Spammer said:

    The infallibly declared interpretation of John 6 is inseparable from the infallible pronouncement on the dogma.

    To come at an earlier question again from a slightly different direction, without intending to be pedantic... Granting ex hypothesi that the Real Presence is an infallible doctrine, where specifically does the Magisterium infallibly declare the interpretation of John 6? 

    You say one won't find a chapter-and-verse list of infallibly-interpreted scriptures (fair enough -- although some Catholics have been brave enough to try), but you claim that the interpretation of this particular passage of scripture (presumably John 6.48-58-ish) has been infallibly declared. Again, fair enough. But, specifically, where can one find this infallible declaration of meaning regarding John 6? Where does RCC state that this passage has an infallible definition?

    You seem to be suggesting that you know the verse has been infallibly interpreted just insofar as competing interpretations would be imcompossible with the irreformable teaching of the Real Presence. In other words, the belief that John 6 has an infallible interpretation is merely a corollary of the belief that the Real Presence is an infallible dogma.

    Is that a fair assessment? If not, how would you phrase the justification for your knowledge that John 6, in particular, has been infallibly interpreted by the Magisterium?

    What's the line of reasoning that leads necessarily to that conclusion?



  6. 16 minutes ago, Spammer said:

     The Catholic Church doesn’t prooftext. Interpretation depends on context and for Roman Catholics, the Magisterium is the arbiter which has the final say on the correct, contextualized interpretation.

    What would an example be of a correct, contextualized interpretation of a scripture by the Magisterium?

  7. 58 minutes ago, Spammer said:

    For the RCC, the summary of all dogmas, all objective pronouncements made by the Magisterium over 2000 years, all doctrines a Catholic is obligated to believe, is contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). You can find it here for free:


    Or you can buy a hard copy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or any Catholic bookstore. Mine’s 800+ pages long. 

    Happy Reading!

    I'm familiar with the CCC. I guess what I'm asking is something more specific given the current context of the thread.

    If, as you suggest, there must be a God-appointed arbiter of the meaning of scripture lest its truth be unknowable, where can one find a list of scriptures RCC has infallibly interpreted and fixed the meaning of once and for all? (I haven't seen a list like that, but I'm also not Catholic.)

    Or, do you hold that if CCC expounds upon a scripture, that exposition, in and of itself, constitutes an infallible interpretation of the scripture in question? I haven't heard that claim before, but I guess it's possible someone may hold to that.

    Seems to me that the RCC interpretation of particular scriptures should be official and infallible (ex-cathedra even), otherwise they would be just teachings of men and prone to error.

    This may sound like a gotcha question, but it's not. I'm genuinely interested: if asked to pick your favorite scripture that has been infallibly interpreted and whose meaning has been fixed for all time by the magisterium, what scripture would it be? 




    I just found reference to several different lists that claim to contain fixed interpretations, but the lists don't necessarily agree with one another and they're all home-grown. Nothing official. 

  8. 7 hours ago, Spammer said:

    without an arbiter with authority to make objective pronouncements, the subjective spiritual experience applies to the individual alone and to no one else

    What sort of objective pronouncements about doctrine/scripture does RCC actually make? What sort of objective pronouncements about doctrine/scripture has RCC actually made in the past?

    Other than the Marian dogmas? Or is that it? Serious question. 

    Where can I find the list of beliefs that RCC demands must be believed? Again, serious question, not rhetorical. 

    Where can I find the list of official RCC scriptural interpretations? 

    Hopefully, those two lists will overlap to a significant degree. 


  9. On 12/6/2018 at 9:25 AM, mapman said:

    I'm just going to respond to this bit. What does it matter that Catholics agree with a criticism? Catholics can see just as well as anyone else that it is in fact circular reasoning. Besides, the Bible never makes any claims to be it's own authority. It couldn't because it is a compilation of different books put together after the fact.

    The Calvin quotation I led with was found on an RCC apologetics blog (IIRC). That's where I came across it and the conclusion was that Calvin was engaging in circular reasoning. Don't @ me, bro.

    Of course, I could just note that your reputation score is 666 and leave it at that. :)

  10. I think this is a fascinating discussion, but unfortunately I have to cut my end of it short.

    My wife caught me posting here again, and knowing how prone I was in the past to spend so much of my limited time on this board, has reasonably asked me not to get sucked in again. I'm inclined to do as she wishes and step away.  (She threatened to sign up here again and remind me on all my duties to wife and kids on each thread I started if I didn't comply :)). 

    Thanks to everyone who offered their thoughts, especially to mfbukowski who gave me food for thought with his assessment of Baptistic belief in the Bible. 

    A few brief final thoughts:

    (1) I've come to the conclusion that there is no phenomenological difference that I can see between most Protestants' faith in the Bible as God's word and most Mormons' faith in BoM as God's word. 

    (2) That's why I thought a more nuanced discussion comparing the idea of ultimate authority (as it relates to Scripture and Spirit and the intertwining of the two) could have been so interesting. 

    Until some other time, adieu.  



  11. mfbukowski on Baptists' belief in the Bible's truthfulness:


    I have never met one who has even thought about why they consider the Bible to be "God's Word" they simply accept it without a reason. So if any of our Baptist friends want to answer that, I am open to a discussion.

    I think mfbukowski is largely correct in his assessment. I wouldn't say all Baptists manifest this sort of unreflective acceptance of the Bible. But he said he's never met one who doesn't. Fair enough.

    A couple of caveats: I'm no longer a Baptist. The guys I'm about to quote are also not Baptists. Having said all of that...

    One strategy for bolstering the concept of inspired scripture—but bear in mind that adherents to this strategy would probably never call it a "strategy"—is to suggest that the Bible is self-authenticating (or, if you want to be fancy, autopistic—enterprising souls can look up the etymology).



    Let it therefore be held as fixed, that those who are inwardly taught by the Holy Spirit acquiesce implicitly in Scripture; that Scripture carrying its own evidence along with it, deigns not to submit to proofs and arguments, but owes the full conviction with which we ought to receive it to the testimony of the Spirit. Enlightened by him, we no longer believe, either on our own judgement or that of others, that the Scriptures are from God; but, in a way superior to human judgement, feel perfectly assured – as much so as if we beheld the divine image visibly impressed on it -that it came to us, by the instrumentality of men, from the very mouth of God. We ask not for proofs or probabilities on which to rest our judgement, but we subject our intellect and judgement to it as too transcendent for us to estimate. This, however, we do, not in the manner in which some are wont to fasten on an unknown object, which, as soon as known, displeases, but because we have a thorough conviction that, in holding it, we hold unassailable truth; not like miserable men, whose minds are enslaved by superstition, but because we feel a divine energy living and breathing in it – an energy by which we are drawn and animated to obey it, willingly indeed, and knowingly, but more vividly and effectually than could be done by human will or knowledge.


    Now, that sounds a whole lot like "I believe it in my heart," or "God revealed it to me." No doubt some Mormons could easily claim Calvin's sentiments for their own faith in BoM, etc. This certainly problematizes interfaith proselytizing for Baptists (and Reformed folks, too).

    The notion of the Bible's autopisticity has evolved to some degree in Reformed circles. Michael Kruger  is a good guide here:


    But what exactly do we mean when we say that the canon authenticates itself? Upon first glance, a self-authenticating canon may seem to refer to the fact that the canon claims to be the Word of God (e.g., 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21; Rev. 22:18–19), implying that all we can do is accept or reject that claim. Although Scripture’s testimony about itself is an important aspect of biblical authority (and will be discussed more below), we will not be arguing that the canon is authenticated simply by virtue of the fact that it says so. That is not how the phrase will be used here. Others may hear the phrase “self-authenticating” and recognize it as a reference to the traditional Reformed view that the books of Scripture bear evidence in themselves of their own divinity. As a result, some may assume that a self-authenticating canon means that our model will be concerned only with the internal qualities of these books and that external data or evidence plays no role in the authentication process. While we certainly agree that these books do bear internal marks of their divinity (indeed, this will be a core component of the model put forth below), this does not mean that outside information has no place in how the canon is authenticated. We shall argue that when it comes to the question of canon, the Scriptures themselves provide grounds for considering external data: the apostolicity of books, the testimony of the church, and so forth. Of course, this external evidence is not to be used as an independent and neutral “test” to determine what counts as canonical; rather it should always be seen as something warranted by Scripture and interpreted by Scripture.

    Thus, for the purposes of this study, we shall be using the phrase self-authenticating in a broader fashion than was typical for the Reformers. We are not using it to refer only to the fact that canonical books bear divine qualities (although they do), but are using it to refer to the way the canon itself provides the necessary direction and guidance about how it is to be authenticated. In essence, to say that the canon is self-authenticating is simply to recognize that one cannot authenticate the canon without appealing to the canon. It sets the terms for its own validation and investigation. A self-authenticating canon is not just a canon that claims to have authority, nor is it simply a canon that bears internal evidence of authority, but one that guides and determines how that authority is to be established.

    Of course, for some who are used to a more foundationalist epistemology, the idea of a self-authenticating canon of Scripture might seem a bit strange. We tend to think that we are not justified in holding a belief unless it can be authenticated on the basis of other beliefs. But as we have already noted, this approach overlooks the unique nature of the canon. The canon, as God’s Word, is not just true, but the criterion of truth. It is an ultimate authority. So, how do we offer an account of how we know that an ultimate authority is, in fact, the ultimate authority? If we try to validate an ultimate authority by appealing to some other authority, then we have just shown that it is not really the ultimate authority. Thus, for ultimate authorities to be ultimate authorities, they have to be the standard for their own authentication. You cannot account for them without using them.


    If this strikes you as circular reasoning, you're not alone. That's the Roman Catholic assessment as well. (I don't think that criticism holds much water coming from RCC.)

    But it strikes me that Mormons can't (and don't want to) make the same sort of claim about BoM (etc.) as Kruger does about the Bible. For Mormons, scripture isn't the ultimate authority. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I would characterize the difference between Mormons and Protestants on the topic like this: For Mormons the ultimate authority is the agent (the Spirit) who authorizes; for Protestants the ultimate authority is that which has been authorized by the Spirit.

    Now, before this devolves into a neener-neener we've-got-the-Spirit-and-you've-just-got-a-book thing, my point is subtler than that. The Protestant idea is not that the Bible is our ultimate authority and God isn't. The idea is that God has uniquely authorized the Bible to serve as our ultimate authority in this life.

    Does my rambling have a point? Is the Protestant view superior to the Mormon view?

    Tune in tomorrow to hear me out. I'm out of time for tonight.

  12. 2 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

    You too could arguably be deceived. How does this work?

    I've never had a Mormon-themed conversion experience and I've always been skeptical of numerous fundamental tenets of the LDS faith. I've never been a Mormon seeker. So, keep that in mind when I say that, for me, The Evidence™ weighs more heavily against Mormonism than it does for it.

    If I'm deceived about Christianity in particular or about theism in general, I'm of the (not unstudied) opinion that Mormons would thereby be doubly deceived (or triply deceived, depending on how we're counting). 

    So, at least I only got tricked once (or twice). Neener. 

  13. 14 minutes ago, Vance said:


    Perhaps you could explain further.

    You're quoting a definition of "incapable" rather than "ineluctable." I confess I don't understand the point, Vance. 



    The spirit has led me to repentance and faith in God, that is why I am a Latter-Day Saint.

    Arguably, you are deceived, though I don't expect you to entertain that possibility. 


  14. 8 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

    A thread on a Mormon board seems to presuppose a Mormon response.

    Don’t Calvinists preach exclusively to the choir? I can understand why Mormons might want to preach to Calvinists, but what would be the point of Calvinists preaching to Mormons? It’s not like we can join up.

    Fair enough. 

    As you may recall, I don't adhere to so-called hyper Calvinism, which I consider erroneous. So, no, it is not the case that regla ol' Calvinists preach exclusively to the choir in the sense I think you mean.

    Since we don't know the identity of the elect, the gospel is preached indiscriminately to all (Mormons definitely included). The elect, according to that way of thinking, are drawn ineluctably to repentance and faith by God's electing grace.

    But I don't think I'm telling you anything you don't already know about Calvinism. 



  15. 18 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

    Of course. On the other hand, are there any neutral ground arguments for Calvinism? No. What would you propose as a neutral ground defense of TULIP? The Calvinist interpretations of the Bible? Why should they have preeminence over the Book of Mormon? Where would be the neutral ground for that? Who would be a neutral arbitrator? Just what is neutral ground?

    I largely agree with you here, Bernard. Since we don't have the same canon, appeals to non-shared scripture typically won't solve much. Which was my point. I was merely objecting to your classification of BoM scripture as a refutation of Calvinism in a thread started by a Calvinist. 🤷‍♂️

    It occurs to me that you may have been preaching to the choir, as they say, and if so, never mind the above. 

  16. On 11/30/2018 at 7:00 AM, Bernard Gui said:

    This is a pretty good rejection and refutation...

    I would disagree for the same old, obvious reason, Bernard. The relevant teachings of BoM are a disproof of X just insofar as one grants them authority. So, for you, I totally get it: BoM clearly affirms propositions imcompossible with Calvinism.

    But that's hardly a neutral ground argument against Calvinism. 


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