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David Waltz

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  1. Hello again SB, Over the weekend, you wrote: >>One thought I'm having is regarding your description as an "ecclesiastical agnostic," as someone who uses "sources that are held in high regard with each specific tradition that I dialogue with." Fair enough. Still, although you say you hold St. Thomas in high regard, you haven't convinced me that you hold St. Thomas in sufficiently high regard to believe and emulate him. In my perspective, depending on where you're coming from regarding St Thomas your comments about historic Catholic theology, Jesuits, Franciscans, etc. are cast in very different lights. I hold St. Thomas Aquinas in high regard and several years ago did nine days of prayer regarding him (a novena). He certainly deserves his acclaim as a systematic theologian, although I personally feel a little more resonance with his contemporary, Saint Bonaventure.>> I am not a devout, practicing Catholic, as such, I am not in a position to “emulate him”. If the Holy Spirit leads me to become a devout, faithful, full-blown Catholic, then it would be the theology/thought of the Angelic Doctor that would foremost mentor me. >>When you write that, "The Three Divine Persons of the Godhead are homoousios (same essence/nature)," I agree. When you write that "the Father is the font/source of Divinity," we might agree if 1) you're not slipping in a notion that there was a time when the Son was not, 2) if you accept that the Father is eternally giving and the Son is eternally receiving, and that 3) the Father cannot withhold from the Son in the same way that the Son must receive all of the Father. That's the "ground," so to speak, where I'm coming from and informs my discussion of the Son's human nature, the relation of the persons in the Trinity, etc.>> 1.) I believe in the eternal generation of the Son of God from the Father. 2.) I also “accept that the Father is eternally giving and the Son is eternally receiving”. Once again, I believe that all that the Son has and is, comes from the Father. 3.) Could you elaborate a bit more on your #3; I am not understanding what you are attempting to convey. >>Something that is surprising me, though, is that you said that "The Three Divine Persons of the Godhead are homoousious.">> I embrace the teachings of the Nicene Creed (325), including the anathemas. >>Are you a believer in the Trinity?>> A qualified yes; qualified in that there are differing forms of Trinitarianism. For some important aspects concerning the Trinity that I embrace, see THIS THREAD Grace and peace, David
  2. Once again, back to Gregor McHardy’s book. In this post, I will be sharing a few of my thoughts on the chapter titled: “MYTH 1 – TWELVE APOSTLES WERE ALL MARTYRED” (pp. 1-32). With all due respect to Gregor, I found this chapter to be a bit confusing. Gregor opens the chapter with: >> It is commonly thought among Christians of all denominations, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that, except for John, all of Jesus’ original apostles were killed. (Page 1)>> Perhaps it is just me, but this opening statement alone makes the chapter title somewhat confusing. If it is acknowledged by pretty much all professing Christians that the apostle John was not martyred, why propose that the " TWELVE APOSTLES WERE ALL MARTYRED” is a “MYTH”? Further, I am not aware of any professing Christian who believes that Judas Iscariot was martyred—he committed suicide! As such, pretty much all professing Christians (including Latter-day Saints) acknowledge that at least two of Jesus Christ’s original twelve apostles were not martyred. As for the other ten apostles of the original twelve, Gregor has strong doubts that Matthew, Simon the Zealot and Thaddeus were martyred. Gregor cites a document attributed to St. Hippolytus— On the Twelve Apostles - link—as evidence for his assessment of those three. Concerning Hippolytus, Gregor wrote: >>In the following pages we discuss the lands, both far and near, the ended up going to, and where they most likely died, consulting an author named Hippolytus, a second-century church leader.>> (Page 4) A correction is needed here—though Hippolytus was born in the late second century, he did not became a “church leader" until the third century. It was also in the third century that his known works were composed. As for the work, On the Twelve Apostles, many scholars believe that it was pseudepigraphal. Moving on, the question that needs to be addressed is whether or not there is scholarly support concerning the martyrdom of the ten of the original twelve apostles in question. As a matter of fact there is. In 2014 Sean McDowell submitted a dissertation to the faculty of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for the partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. His dissertation—“A Historical Evaluation of the Evidence for the Death of the Apostles as Martyrs for Their Faith” —was accepted and is available online via THIS LINK. The following is from the “Conclusion" of his scholarly, in depth dissertation: >>As for the individual apostles, the historical evidence leads to the following assessments regarding the likelihood of their martyrdoms: 1. Peter: the highest possible probability 2. Paul: the highest possible probability 3. James, brother of Jesus: very probably true 4. John, the son of Zebedee: improbable 5. Thomas: more probable than not 6. Andrew: more probable than not 7. James, son of Zebedee: highest possible probability 8. Philip: possible 9. Bartholomew: more possible than not 10. Matthew: possible 11. James, son of Alphaeus: more possible than not 12. Thaddeus: possible 13. Simon the Zealot: possible 14. Matthias: possible In sum, there are three apostles in the category of the highest possible probability, one that is very probably true, one that is more probable than not, one that is more plausible than not, seven that are as plausible as not, and one that is improbable. Thus, of the 14 apostles, six are at least more plausible than not, seven are as plausible as not, and only one, John, is lower than plausible. (Pages 427, 428) After reading McDowell’s dissertation (as well as his subsequently published book, The Fate of the Apostles (2015 - Google Books), I cannot in good faith relegate the martyrdom of ten of the original twelve apostles to mere “MYTH”. Grace and peace, David P.S. A related post has been published at Articuli Fidei.
  3. Steve Clifford has the entire debate on his site: Who Holds the Keys? Steve's closing statement: Direct link Grace and peace, David
  4. Hello again Gregor, I am pretty sure that your last comments addressed to me were probably intended for InCognitus. Grace and peace, David
  5. Hello Gregor, What a pleasant surprise! It is so good to learn that you have seen this thread and are sharing some of your thoughts with me. I have a few questions for you, but would first like to apologize for what may seem as some somewhat harsh criticisms of your book. In my defense, the issue of the ‘great apostasy' has been a topic I have studied at length since 1987—the year I was challenged by two LDS missionaries to read the Book of Mormon for the first time—and one that I am quite passionate about. Now, a couple of questions that immediately come to mind: first, your book seems to be a bit of a rush job; is this assessment accurate? Second, your theory that the Aaronic priesthood was never taken away but remained in place, seems to make the appearance of John the Baptist to Joseph Smith Jr. to give him the AP quite superfluous; as such, do you think Joseph made up the event? Looking forward to further dialogue…Grace and peace, David
  6. Hi SB, Thanks much for responding to my recent musings. You wrote: >>Hi, David. I don't think we've interacted before and I must say I'm delighted that you're citing St. Thomas.>> I am pretty sure that this will be the first time we have dialogued with each other. >>You seem to hold St. Thomas in high regard, and yet at the same time, I can't discern whether you believe him and find him authoritative, or if you're just citing him as a rhetorical maneuver (because others believe him and find him authoritative). If you can clear that up, I'll have a better sense of where you're coming from in the conversation.>> I am currently an ecclesiastical agnostic; as such, when I interact with various Christian traditions, I try to use sources that are held in high regard with each specific tradition that I dialogue with. >>Regarding the pronouncement of St. Thomas as the greatest theologian--simply citing St. Thomas' greatness, dropping a block quote from him, and considering a matter settled may get you in a scrap with some Jesuits, with some Augustinians, or even with a spunky group of Carmelite sisters.>> Fair enough. IMO, the theology of Aquinas and the Dominicans/Thomists who are faithful to his thought are more consistent representatives of historic Catholic theology than the traditions of the Jesuits/Molinists and Franciscans. They also seem much less prone to the liberalism that is making significant inroads into the Catholic tradition. >>Certainly, Thomists might agree with a declaration that Saint Thomas is the greatest theologian, but a main school of thought is that the works of the doctors of the Church do not all settle in the soul in the same fashion. St. Augustine, St. Athanasias, and other early doctors often have a beauty that stirs and lifts and that scholastics and systems theologians, such as St. Thomas, simply don't have. And then there's the greatness in the spurring to action of Saint Therese of Lisieux and Dorothy Day. No, there's a real donnybrook here unless one just avoids the whole conversation and declares that Christ is the greatest theologian.>> Point/s taken; but when it comes to a systematic presentation of Catholic thought, I personally believe that none have excelled Thomas Aquinas. >>What I am getting at in this conversation is that the Son and the Father (and for that matter, the Holy Spirit) are equal as regarding the one Divine Nature (or the "What" of God). One of the Persons (the "who" of God) is not "more God" than is another; none of them is a creature; there is not a time when one of them was not (this is the claim of the Arian heresy).>> The Three Divine Persons of the Godhead are homoousios (same essence/nature). But with reference to the Persons, the Father is the font/source of Divinity. The Son and Holy Spirit owe their being (essence and person) to the Father. As Augustine put, “the Son is God of God”, but the Father is “God only”(see THIS POST for more on this topic). >>My reference to 3DOP's post regarding subordination and the Son's human nature is trying to make a distinction that might be important for discussions between Latter-day Saints and Catholics (and between LDS and other Trinitarians too). In Catholic thinking, the Son is both fully God and fully human; he has two natures, and so, given that the Father and Son are equal in Divine Nature, any discussion of the Son being subordinate is a discussion of the Son's human nature, and probably also of the relationship between Divine Nature and human nature. My point is this: The Son equals the Father in Divinity, but is in some sense lesser than the Father because of his humanity. None of the Divine Persons exceeds the others in glory or greatness, but there is a relational hierarchy among them. I stress "among" and not "between," but that's more than I should get into here. The reason I'm stressing the equality of the Father and the Son in terms of Divine Nature is because, in terms of prayer to God, it makes things like St. Paul's address to those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1), his own prayer to the Son (2 Cor 12, regarding the thorn), St. Steven's prayer (Acts 7), etc. not indications of multiple Gods or prayers to a "lesser God" (there is only one God), but instead implications of how Trinitarians begin to discover the Trinity in Sacred Scripture.>> This is where you and I differ: you ground all subordination of the Son of God—to God the Father—to His human nature; however, I (as well as Augustine, Aquinas, Sheeben, Congar and some other Catholic theologians) maintain that the subordination of the Son to the Father is not exclusively grounded in His human nature alone. Hope I have offered some clarity to your questions. Grace and peace, David
  7. Back to McHardy’s book. In this post, I will expose two mistakes; mistakes so noticeable that it leaves me wondering how the author and proofreader/s could have missed them. The first mistake is found on page xv. Note the following: >>Another LDS work focusing on the great apostasy, Outlines of Ecclesiastical History, was published forty years later by the eminent B. H. Roberts.>> Outlines of Ecclesiastical History was first published in 1893. Four more editions of the book were subsequently released in 1895, 1902, 1924, and 1927. In the bibliography of McHardy's book, only the 1902 edition is listed (p.114). Now, if one subtracts “forty years” from 1902 we arrive at 1862. However, the only book on the apostasy referenced by McHardy prior to the publication of Outlines of Ecclesiastical History was “James E. Talmage’s The Great Apostasy (1909)”—p. xii. The first three editions of Outlines of Ecclesiastical History were published before “James E. Talmage’s The Great Apostasy (1909)”, not “forty years later"!!! The second mistake found in the book involves the misnaming of a book and the name of its author. In the bibliography we find the following referenced work: >>Rhodes, James Montague. "Acts of Andrew and Matthias,” In The New Testament, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924.>> The above is first referenced on page 4, footnote 4, as “Rhodes, Acts of Andrew and Matthias,” page 453.” This supposed author “Rhodes" is again referenced on page 6, footnote 10, as "Rhodes, “Acts of Andrew,” 332-33.” Now, mistake number two contains three interrelated errors. Error #1, the actual name of the referenced author is Montague Rhodes James. Error #2, the actual name of the book referenced is The Apocryphal New Testament. Error #3 concerns one of the works referenced by McHardy from James’ book—“Acts of Andrew" is actually the apocryphal work "Acts of Peter". More later, the Lord willing… Grace and peace, David
  8. I could not stop thinking about ZLMB, so I put off a few things to try and find a thread with Barry involved. I have a saved WORD.doc that includes some ZLMB threads on the apostasy, as well as post by Barry that I copied into the same document. I have posted the entire document over at a new thread at Articuli Fidei for those folk who may be interested in some nostalgia. Grace and peace, David
  9. I have over 100 threads saved from ZLMB; will have some 'free' time tomorrow to check the threads that Barry was most likely to participate in. (My internet service was down all day, and just came back up a few minutes ago...have a lot of catching-up to do).
  10. Hi Kenngo, Yes, I have read Barry’s book (1st edition, 1999). In fact, I wrote a review of the book that was published by FARMS Review of Books: A New Look at Historic Christianity Barry’s book is a good intro to the combined apostasy/restoration issues. I did not include it in my list because only one chapter deals directly with the apostasy. As to why McHardy excluded it, I am beginning to suspect lazy research. Interesting enough, he did include Jackson’s book that has only one chapter on the apostasy. BTW, Barry did on online debate with Steve Clifford, a Catholic gent, that is quite interesting IMO: Who Holds the Keys? - Pope or Prophet Grace and peace, David
  11. The forward of Lyon’s book has the following information: >>The basic reference work for the course is: Apostasy From the Divine Church, by Elder James L. Barker.>> Barker’s Apostasy From the Divine Church, is by far the most comprehensive book on the ‘Great Apostasy' from a LDS perspective (over 800 pages). Interestingly enough, T. Edgar Lyon wrote the introduction for Barker’s book. From that intro we read: >>Although I assumed the responsibility for the work, the book is essentially as it was when Professor Barker finished his compilation and writing. I made no attempt to insert by own interpretation. Nor did I add anything to the text that was not in the original manuscript, except some citations to Professor Barker’s sources.>> (Page x) For McHardy to reference and comment on Lyon’s book, whilst completely ignoring the massive tome from which Lyon based his book on, is highly questionable behavior in my view. Grace and peace, David
  12. I received McHardy’s new book late Friday via UPS, and read it the next day. I found the book to be mediocre and a highly subjective work. The subjective aspect extends into three areas: first, selection of primary sources; second, selection germane studies; and third, his personal theories. In this post, I would like to address his selection of germane studies. On page xi McHardy wrote: >>In researching this book, I browsed through the extensive book catalogs of LDS publishing houses trying to find anything that would shed light on Mormon perspectives of the great apostasy. The results were dismal. Barely half a dozen works have been published on the matter over the last century.>> The results of his research are then examined—6 books and 1 article—in pages xi-xxii. The following are those works, in the order presented: The Inevitable Apostasy and the Promised Restoration – Tad R. Callister (2006) The Great Apostasy: Considered in the Light of Scriptural and Secular History – James E. Talmage (1909) Outlines of Ecclesiastical History – B. H. Roberts (1893/1895/1902/1924/1927) Apostasy to Restoration - T. Edgar Lyon (1960) “The Passing of the Church: Forty Variations on an Unpopular Theme” – Hugh Nibley (1961/1975) From Apostasy to Restoration – Kent P. Jackson (1996) Early Christians in Disarray: Contemporary LDS Perspectives on the Christian Apostasy - Edited by Noel B. Reymonds (2005) Unfortunately, McHardy’s book has excluded a number of germane studies into the Great Apostasy from a LDS perspective.. The following list includes book length only contributions, from the most recent, to the oldest: By the Gift and Power of God: The Last Dispensation – Leo Kappa (2018) Standing Apart: Mormon Historical Consciousness and the Concept of Apostasy – Edited by Wilcox and Young (2014) Turning from Truth: A New Look at the Great Apostasy - Alexander B. Morrison (2005) Where Have All the Prophets Gone? - Scott R. Petersen (2005) Apostasy from the Divine Church – James L. Barker (1960) The "Falling Away": Or, The World's Loss of the Christian Religion and Church – B. H. Roberts (1929/1931) In addition to the six above books, I must also add Nibley’s following book, for a large part of the content is directly related to the issue of apostasy: Apostles and Bishops in Early Christianity - Hugh Nibley (2005) McHardy has certainly left out some important contributions concerning the issue of the ‘Great Apostasy’ from a LDS point of view. The question for me is did he do so because of some suspect subjectivity, or was it due to shallow research. Grace and peace, David
  13. THE Catholic Church of 21st century, headed by the current Bishop or Rome, Pope Francis, traces the beginning of their Church to Jesus Christ Himself, who appointed Simon/Peter as the rock upon which he would build His church. 21st century Catholics also identify this Peter as their first Pope. I think I will trust Catholics as to when their Church began... Grace and peace, David
  14. Hello again Rory, The quote I provide is from Nibley’s article, "The Book of Mormon: True or False?", first published in the Millennial Star 124 (November 1962): 274-77. It was subsequently included in the book, The Prophetic Book of Mormon (pp. 219-232)—a collection of 23 of Nibley's articles—which is where I read it. [Note: attached to the article in footnote #29 is a lengthy transcript of a talk that Nibley delivered at a Portland Institute Symposium—pp. 232-242.] Meinhold is Peter Meinhold, who is "an eminent German historian” (p. 219), in Nibley’s assessment. As for Albirght, he is none other than William Foxwell Albright, who “was an American archaeologist, biblical scholar, philologist, and expert on ceramics.” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_F._Albright] If you are interested—as well as other folk—the entire article and transcript can be read online at: http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/response/bom/nibley_bomtf.htm. Grace and peace, David
  15. Hi Rory, Thanks for taking the time to respond to my post; you wrote:>> I am not sure I am getting the full meaning here. Does the Son "see" the Father doing everything that the Son does? Not separately I think. Maybe it is that the Son "sees/perceives/understands" the will of the Father and the Father's will is the cause (or doing) of action through the Son? Would that be close to the sense in which you understand Aquinas to be saying that the Son does only what he sees the Father doing?>> My take on Aquinas’ commentary referenced above is pretty much the same as yours. Everything that the Son ‘sees’ is what the Father ‘sees’—equating ‘seeing’ here with perceiving and understanding. I would add that to truly ‘see’ something is to ‘know’ something. The important distinction between the Father’s ‘seeing’/’knowing’ and that of the Son, is that everything the Son ‘sees’/’knows’ is FROM the Father, for the Father is the fount/origin of everything that the Son is and has. >>We cannot separate the activity of the Son from the activity of the Father. They are indivisible. Those "doings" which are unreceived in the Father, can only be received in the Son?>> That is exactly as I understand it. >>It would seem that the view of Aquinas could not allow for the Son at any time to advance to a position where He "does things" separately from the Father or after a different manner.>> Agreed. >>I do not think that Aquinas definitively states that the Son is eternally submissive to the Father, nor do I know where the Catholic Church has defined it. But it seems like the truths of the Catholic faith imply eternal subordination, as a legitimate doctrinal development.>> I would argue that if a person receives everything that one is/has from another, then that person is in a very real sense subordinate to the person who is the giver. That sort of relationship is exactly what Scripture and tradition has taught concerning the Father and the Son. I do not believe there will ever be any change in the future concerning that relationship; as such, it is an eternal relationship. Grace and peace, David
  16. IMO, for a correct understanding of the eternal submission of the Son of God to God the Father within the Catholic Tradition, one should turn to the RCC's greatest theologian—Thomas Aquinas. The following is from his commentary on John concerning Jesus’ affirmation that, “the Son cannot do anything of himself, but only what he sees the Father doing” (John 5:19): >>746 To get the true meaning of Christ’s statement, we should know that in those matters which seem to imply inferiority in the Son, it could be said, as some do, that they apply to Christ according to the nature he assumed; as when he said: “The Father is greater than I” (below 14:28). According to this, they would say that our Lord’s statement, the Son cannot do anything of himself, should be understood of the Son in his assumed nature. However, this does not stand up, because then one would be forced to say that whatever the Son of God did in his assumed nature, the Father had done before him. For example, that the Father had walked upon the water as Christ did: otherwise, he would not have said, but only what he sees the Father doing. And if we say that whatever Christ did in his flesh, God the Father also did in so far as the Father works in him, as said below (14:10): “The Father, who lives in me, he accomplishes the works,” then Christ would be saying that the Son cannot do anything of himself, but only what he sees the Father doing in him, i.e., in the Son. But this cannot stand either, because Christ’s next statement, For whatever the Father, does, the Son does likewise, could not, in this interpretation, be applied to him, i.e., to Christ. For the Son, in his assumed nature, never created the world, as the Father did. Consequently, what we read here must not be understood as pertaining to Christ’s assumed nature. 747 According to Augustine, however, there is another way of understanding statements which seem to, but do not, imply inferriority in the Son: namely, by referring them to the origin of the Son coming or begotten from the Father. For although the Son is equal to the Father in all things, he receives all these things from the Father in an eternal begetting. But the Father gets these from no one, for he is unbegotten. According to this explanation, the continuity of thought is the following: Why are you offended because I said that God is my Father, and because I made myself equal to the Father? Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of himself. As if to say: I am equal to the Father, but in such a way as to be from him, and not he from me; and whatever I may do, is in me from the Father. 748 According to this interpretation, mention is made of the power of the Son when he says, can, and of his activity when he says, do. Both can be understood here, so that, first of all, the derivation of the Son’s power from the Father is shown, and secondly, the conformity of the Son’s activity to that of the Father. 749 As to the first, Hilary explains it this way: Shortly above our Lord said that he is equal to the Father. Some heretics, basing themselves on certain scriptural texts which assert the unity and equality of the Son to the Father, claim that the Son is unbegotten. For example, the Sabellians, who say that the Son is identical in person with the Father. Therefore, so you do not understand this teaching in this way, he says, the Son cannot do anything of himself, for the Son’s power is identical with his nature. Therefore the Son has his power from the same source as he has his being (esse); but he has his being (esse) from the Father: “I came forth from the Father, and I have come into the world” (Jn 16:28). He also has his nature from the Father, because he is God from God; therefore, it is from him that the Son has his power (posse). So his statement, the Son cannot do anything of himself, but only what he sees the Father doing, is the same as saying: The Son, just as he does not have his being (esse) except from the Father, so he cannot do anything except from the Father. For in natural things, a thing receives its power to act from the very thing from which it receives its being: for example, fire receives its power to ascend from the very thing from which it receives its form and being. Further, in saying, the Son cannot do anything of himself, no inequality is implied, because this refers to a relation; while equality and inequality refer to quantity. (Bold emphasis in the original.)>> [https://isidore.co/aquinas/John5.htm] Aquinas articulates two very important points: first, everything that the Son is and has (e.g. his person, essence, attributes) is from the Father; and second, the Son ‘cannot do anything except from the Father’. To this I would add that the relationship between the Father and the Son as delineated by Aquinas is an eternal relationship that has no beginning in time, and no end. Grace and peace, David
  17. Hi Anakin7, Not understanding precisely what you want. I just tried the link and it works fine. Could you clarify a bit further? Thanks, David
  18. There are a number of competent works concerning the topic of the corporality of God that are available online for free. The following links are some of my favorites: David Paulsen (LDS) – https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/byusq/vol35/iss4/ (“Part II: Early Christian Belief in an Embodied God" is particularly germane to this thread) Divine Embodiment: The Earliest Christian Understanding of God https://archive.bookofmormoncentral.org/sites/default/files/archive-files/pdf/paulsen/2021-07-26/07_david_l._paulsen_divine_embodiment_239-293.pdf Must God Be Incorporeal? https://www.academia.edu/35042972/Must_God_Be_Incorporeal Augustine and the Corporeality of God (with Carl Griffin) https://www.academia.edu/9848436/Augustine_and_the_Corporeality_of_God Jacob Neusner (Jewish) – Conversation in Nauvoo about the Corporeality of God https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3100&context=byusq Deborah L. Forger (Protestant) – Divine Embodiment in Jewish Antiquity https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/138783/dkforger_1.pdf?sequence=1 In addition to the above resources, I published a post that may be of interest to some folk reading this thread: Lactantius on the figure/form of God http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2019/01/lactantius-on-figureform-of-god.html Grace and peace, David
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