In Roman Catholic Apologetics, (and also Eastern Orthodoxy), in defending “Baptismal Regeneration”, a lot is made of Justin Martyr’s section on baptism in his First Apology, 61. My friend Rod Bennett made a lot of his argument on that in his and with me personally, debating him for about 8 years. (1996-2004) But see here for a different take on that.
“For Isaiah did not send you to a bath, there to wash away murder and other sins, which not even all the water of the sea were sufficient to purge; but, as might have been expected, this was that saving bath of the olden time which followed those who repented, and who no longer were purified by the blood of goats and of sheep, or by the ashes of an heifer, or by the offerings of fine flour, but by faith through the blood of Christ, and through His death, who died for this very reason, as Isaiah himself said, when he spake thus:
. . . bolding is my emphasis Then Justin quotes from Isaiah 52:10 all the way to 54:6, including all of Isaiah 53.
Then, after quoting from Isaiah 52, 53, and 54, he says in chapter 14 of Dialogue with Trypho:
“By reason, therefore, of this laver of repentance and knowledge of God, which has been ordained on account of the transgression of God’s people, as Isaiah cries, we have believed, and testify that that very baptism which he announced is alone able to purify those who have repented; and this is the water of life. But the cisterns which you have dug for yourselves are broken and profitless to you. For what is the use of that baptism which cleanses the flesh and body alone? Baptize the soul from wrath and from covetousness, from envy, and from hatred; and, lo! the body is pure. For this is the symbolic significance of unleavened bread, that you do not commit the old deeds of wicked leaven. But you have understood all things in a carnal sense, and you suppose it to be piety if you do such things, while your souls are filled with deceit, and, in short, with every wickedness. . . .
The section of Isaiah 52:10-54:6 that is in between the two sections which I have put above:
‘The Lord shall make bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the nations and the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God. Depart ye, depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, and touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her, be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord, for ye go not with haste. For the Lord shall go before you; and the Lord, the God of Israel, shall gather you together. Behold, my servant shall deal prudently; and He shall be exalted, and be greatly glorified. As many were astonished at Thee, so Thy form and Thy glory shall be marred more than men. So shall many nations be astonished at Him, and the kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them concerning Him shall they see, and that which they had not heard shall they consider. Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? We have announced Him as a child before Him, as a root in a dry ground. He hath no form or comeliness, and when we saw Him He had no form or beauty; but His form is dishonoured, and fails more than the sons of men. He is a man in affliction, and acquainted with bearing sickness, because His face has been turned away; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. He bears our sins, and is distressed for us; and we esteemed Him to be in toil and in affliction, and in evil treatment. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him. With His stripes we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray. Every man has turned to his own way; and the Lord laid on Him our iniquities, and by reason of His oppression He opens not His mouth. He was brought as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before her shearer is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth. In His humiliation His judgment was taken away. And who shall declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth. Because of the transgressions of my people He came unto death. And I will give the wicked for His grave, and the rich for His death, because He committed no iniquity, and deceit was not found in His mouth. And the Lord wills to purify Him from affliction. If he has been given for sin, your soul shall see a long-lived seed. And the Lord wills to take His soul away from trouble, to show Him light, and to form Him in understanding, to justify the righteous One who serves many well. And He shall bear our sins; therefore He shall inherit many, and shall divide the spoil of the strong, because His soul was delivered to death; and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bare the sins of many, and was delivered for their transgression. Sing, O barren, who bearest not; break forth and cry aloud, thou who dost not travail in pain: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife. For the Lord said, Enlarge the place of thy tent and of thy curtains; fix them, spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; stretch forth to thy right and thy left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and thou shalt make the desolate cities to be inherited. Fear not because thou art ashamed, neither be thou confounded because thou hast been reproached; for thou shalt forget everlasting shame, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood, because the Lord has made a name for Himself, and He who has redeemed thee shall be called through the whole earth the God of Israel. The Lord has called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, as a woman hated from her youth.’
Isaiah 52:10 to 54:6, as quoted by Justin Martyr, around 150 AD.
The emphasis of Justin Martyr seems to agree with 1 Peter 3:21, that it is the appeal to God for a good conscience (repentance and faith) that saves, not the water, and that baptism is an external picture and symbol of the internal reality of the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13) Water baptism is a sign and seal of a person who truly repents and trusts Christ and the result is that they will want to be baptized in a local church in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (see Matthew 28:18-20; 2 Cor. 13:14; Romans 6:1-7) It is like good works – they are the necessary fruit and result of true faith, as in James 2:14-26. Water baptism is a result of regeneration, not the cause of it; because a truly converted person wants to follow Jesus in discipleship, obedience, and local church growth. A person who claims to be converted and has an attitude of “I will not be baptized” or “I don’t want to join a local church”; or “just me and my Bible” private attitude, these are indications that the conversion is not a real conversion.
“cleansing their hearts by faith” Peter in Acts 15:8-9 (the suppossed first “Pope”)
When there is true faith (Romans chapters 3-5; Galatians, the whole book), the person wants to follow the Lord in baptism in a Biblical local church. (Romans 6; Galatians 3:27)
Be sure to read my many other articles about Baptismal Regeneration (click on the side bar)
This was an excellent debate where James White explains and defends the doctrine of the Trinity vs. a Muslim named Jake Brancatella, who uses worldly human philosophy over God’s Revelation (the New Testament). God has revealed Himself in history through prophets and apostles and books, written Scriptures. When we say “revelation”, we are not talking about the book of Revelation only, but all of the 66 books of holy Scripture. The Doctrine of the Trinity is based on Scriptural teaching. See the category of “the doctrine of the Trinity” and the Deity of Christ in the side bar for more.
Jake’s argument is a contradiction to Islam, since the Qur’an affirms the previous Scriptures as revelation from God (Surah 5:47; 5:68; 10:94; 3:3), both the New Testament Gospel message and the Old Testamant, even though Muhammad and the early Muslims did not know the content of the true Injeel الانجیل (gospel in Arabic). See many other posts I have made about Islam, Muslims, the Word of God, and how the Qur’an actually unwittingly confirms the Bible. (see the categories in the side bar, especially the “Bible is not corrupted”)
It is clear that the Qur’an wrongly thought the Christians were saying the Trinity is “God, Jesus, and His mother Mary”. (Surah 5:116 and Surah 5:72-75 and also 6:101 and 112 and 19:88-92 – the Qur’an seems to think that the Christians taught that God had sex with Mary and pro-created Jesus, which is also wrong and a blasphemy and shows that the true Allah did not inspire the Qur’an, but the true God would have known about the doctrines of the Deity of Christ, the Sonship of Christ, the Trinity, etc.
Another important aspect of sharing the gospel with Muslims is usually, one does not start with the doctrine of the Trinity. James White did with Jake, as they both already talk about this doctrine on line and they are all over the internet. But when you meet a Muslim, the average Muslim does not study this issue deeply. But more and more, because of the internet, they are studying what Christians believe about the Trinity. A Muslim may ask you up front early, “What is the Trinity?” or “Why do you worship three gods?” or “Why do you call Jesus the Son of God?”
It is important to start with terms that a Muslim might understand, for example, the Qur’an does indeed call Jesus “the Word” of God, which reminds us of John 1:1 that Jesus is the eternal Word, the logos ( λογος ); even though they also deny His Deity and deny the incarnation. Even in a main verse that the Qur’an denies Jesus is God and denies the Trinity (Surah 4:171), it also affirms that Jesus is “the word” or “His Word” کلمه (Word کلمت in Arabic, Kalimeh or Kalamat الكلمة, or Kalameh (Farsi) in Surah 4:171.
John 1:1 in Arabic:
في البدء كان الكلمة والكلمة كان عند الله وكان الكلمة الله.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John 1:1 in Farsi:
از ازل کلمه بود، کلمه با خدا بود و کلمه خود خدا بود.
This verse in the Qur’an (Surah 4:171) also says that Jesus is “a spirit” from Him (from God). It is saying that Jesus’ essence is Spirit. These are 2 things you can start with in by mentioning (calling Jesus “the Word” and “a Spirit from God”, in your friendship with a Muslim and then have them read John 1:1-5 and 1:14 in their own language. Then you can go from there as the conversation will take you into deeper details.
O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion1 or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.
Surah 4:171 in the Saheeh International English translation (translating Ruh روح as “soul” is not exact. The next 2 English translations are more precise on this:
O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” – Cease! (it is) better for you! – Allah is only One Allah. Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender.
O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.
Pray for our sister in Christ, Hatun Tash, who was brutally attacked and stabbed with a knife by a Muslim.
Thank God for freedom of speech in the west and pray that God Almighty would continue to keep those freedoms open in the western world and also pray that many Muslims would begin to question Islam more and more because of incidents like this. It is amazing that the god of Islam cannot take criticism.
Many Iranians have already been disillusioned with Islam for the last 40+ years, since the oppressive and cruel Islamic revolution in 1979 in Iran.
Many other Muslims have been questioning Islam and turning away from it since events like the 2001 Al Qaeda terrorism (9-11-2001) and since the brutality of the ISIS / IS / ISIL claims and actions around 2010- recent times.
Continue to pray for more and more Muslims to question Islam and be disillusioned with Islam and to turn to the true Jesus Al Masih of the Bible.
Pray for Christians to be more bold in witnessing to Muslims and patiently explaining the gospel to Muslims. (2 Timothy 2:24-26)
David Wood shows from Islamic sources how Muhammad justified violence against those that criticize Muhammad, the founder of Islam.
See my previous posts on Dhimmi and Dhimmi-ism and Jihad and Yaser Qadhi’s admission that Islam aggressively attacked in war and Jihad to conquer the Byzantine and Persian Empires. (click on the categories at the side bar.)
Please listen to David Wood’s exhortation at the end and pray that no one does any vengeance against Muslims for this. The answer is the gospel of Christ, the message of the New Testament, patience, holy living, explaining the gospel in a way that gives glory to the true God of the Bible.
Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits . . . ” Matthew 7:20
Muslims in the past have argued against her that she is crazy or hate-filled or goofy or insane, or “asking for it” or has a martyr complex, etc. – but the point is that in the west there is freedom to be crazy or goofy in speech without someone stabbing you or trying to kill you or trying to shut you down. That is the point of freedom of speech – the old liberal maxim was “I am free to disagree, but I will defend your right to say it.”
One of the most powerful segments is when Hatun Tash gets back up after being stabbed and she says, “O Muslim people! The Lord Jesus doesn’t need me . . . “
Powerful. Like Acts 4:31 and Acts 14:19-20
But those kinds of Muslims act as if Allah needs them to defend him, which makes Allah look weak and non-existent; and because Muslims get offended so easily, it makes it look like Allah gets offended and is hurt by people’s criticism.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
Hebrews 11:1 is not a definition of faith, rather, in context, it is communicating what happens when we have faith and confidence in God – when we have real trust and faith in God and Christ, the results are assurance, hope, and a stability of conviction about truth. see the immediate context before 11:1 in 10:36-39 and really all the way back to Hebrews 1:1-3 must be taken into account. Hebrews 10:38 has a quote from Habakkuk 2:4, which is also quoted in Romans 1:17 – “the righteous man will live by faith” – which inspired Luther to understand the doctrine of “Sola Fide”. “We are justified by faith alone in Christ alone” (Galatians, Romans, John, Acts, 1 Peter, Ephesians 2:8-9, Philippians 3:9, etc.) (But true faith does not stay alone. James 2:14-26; Ephesians 2:10) The writer of Hebrews expects us to have read Hebrews 1:1 – 10:39 first, in order to understand 11:1. Faith is not a substance or thing. Trusting in God and Christ, includes faith in who God is as Creator and faith in Christ and who He is – Hebrews 1:1-3; 6; 8, 10-12 – those verses all point to the Deity of Christ. True faith includes trust in what Christ did on the cross – Hebrews 10:10-14, Romans 3:24-26; and His resurrection – Hebrews 13:20-21. and ascension – Hebrews 1:3; 8:1; 12:1-2)
But even after we trust in Christ and are converted, there are times of struggling against doubt and unbelief, as that father in Mark 9:24.
Faith in God and Christ is not “a thing”, rather it is a verb – of trusting in someone as a person; trusting in God as a person; and Christ has revealed who God is for us. (John 1:18; John 14:9) Here is a great quote from Matt Slick:
“Faith does not save you. Got that? FAITH DOES NOT SAVE YOU! Faith is not a substance that you put in a jar or detect with a meter. Faith isn’t a cream you apply to protect you from something. Faith is belief, trust, etc. The key to understanding faith lies not in faith itself but in the OBJECT of faith: God! Faith is only as good as who you put it in. Faith in a false god (i.e., Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, etc.) is useless and it doesn’t save you. But faith in the TRUE God DOES save you. Do you see? Faith is only as good as who you put it in. Faith in the true God results in salvation (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8). Faith in a false god results in damnation.
Finally, faith “works” because of who it is placed in. It is not a thing that depends upon you for its vitality. It is not made real by YOU. It is made real by WHO YOU PLACE IT IN; that is why true faith in the true God is independent of your circumstances.”
Faith, as C. S. Lewis wrote, “is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.” (Mere Christianity, p. 140) and to “teach your moods where they get off” (Ibid, p. 141) “Consequently, one must train the habit of faith.” (ibid, p. 141) Lewis goes on to write that is why daily prayers and reading Scripture and church going are so necessary for the Christian life.
Calvin, in commenting on Mark 9:24, wrote:
“As our faith is never perfect . . . it our duty to shake off the remains of infidelity that adhere to us.” (Tabletalk magazine, Ligonier, June 2021, p. 60)
Shake it off! Tell your moods to “get off”. Feed your mind on truth and speak to your moods, emotions, feelings, melancholy, imaginations, etc.
Sometimes Faith in God expresses itself in a prayer, a cry to God for mercy and grace and help, as this beautiful song does, based on Psalm 102:
Be sure to read and study the outline by Timothy Kauffman at “thorn Crown ministries”. Excellent material. It is obvious that the earliest sources for the Perpetual Virginity of Mary come from Gnostic or Gnostic influenced sources.
After speaking of the books of the Wisdom of Solomon and Ecclesiasticus, which were sent at the same time, the Preface continues:
As, then, the Church reads Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabees, but does not admit them among the canonical Scriptures, so let it read these two volumes for the edification of the people, not to give authority to doctrines of the Church. If any one is better pleased with the edition of the Seventy, there it is, long since corrected by me. For it is not our aim in producing the new to destroy the old. And yet if our friend reads carefully, he will find that our version is the more intelligible, for it has not turned sour by being poured three times over into different vessels, but has been drawn straight from the press, and stored in a clean jar, and has thus preserved its own flavour.
Jerome, Preface to Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. NPNF2, volume 6.
And also, in this post, I will address Archpriest Josiah Trenham – his EO perspective on Evangelical Protestant Faith
The first video (above) by Dr. Ryan Reeves gives a good overview of the issues of the “The Great Schism of 1054, where the Eastern Greek speaking Church split from the western Latin Church and became Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.
I was never persuaded nor even tempted by the claims of Roman Catholicism nor Eastern Orthodoxy. see my previous articles, especially this one on being deep in history and check out the many others categories on the side bar of church history, early church history, Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Sola Scriptura, and Sola Fide.
The Second Video: I really like this guy – Archpriest Josiah Trenham, who is an Eastern Orthodox convert from Reformed Protestantism – he is a former Presbyterian. (Amazing to me, given what he knew and his education, and all the great Reformed teachers that he studied under, like R. C. Sproul, John Frame, etc..) He had some of my favorite theologians! He made me want to understand better. He is very knowledgable of church history and historical theology and is articulate and interesting. He is the first Eastern Orthodox speaker that I can understand immediately and find so interesting that I want to listen to more. I also listened to several of his other lectures at this You Tube channel, especially his 2 part series, “Rock and Sand” and his book by the same name, which I have read some and hoping to read the whole book entirely. In the Rock and Sand part 1, at the beginning, he names several of his Presbyterian professors. (see more details later at the end of the article)
Trenham makes an interesting point that 1204, the Fourth Crusade, is the more important date that really made the split in 1054 much more bitter and deep, as the Latin Crusaders turned on the Eastern Orthodox and slaughtered people (and raped nuns !). wow. Indeed, what a massive tragedy and scandal that 4th Crusade was!! See Dr. Ryan Reeves 2 videos on the Crusades for a good overview.
“Rock and Sand”, both the videos and the book, are “An Eastern Orthodox Appraisal of the Protestant Reformers and Their Teachings”. I listened to both of the You Tube lectures on “Rock and Sand” and want to go through them again and take notes and along with his book, write more articles on those issues.
But back to his lecture on his Appraisal of Roman Catholicism:
From my notes I counted 17 points of disagreements that Eastern Orthodoxy has against Roman Catholicism. If I missed some, or numbered them wrong, I apologize. Many of these issues are purely external forms / rituals in their nature. (baptism 3 times by immersion, facing east in prayer, requirement of beards for clergy, sitting and pews (RC & Protestants) rather than standing (EO) in the worship service, art, icons and the whole theology behind the icons, architecture, music, various days and schedule and calendar on fasting on certain days, Chrismation (confirmation in the west) separation from baptism, allowing children right after baptism to start taking communion and partake in the Eucharist (padeo-communion), etc.
Overall, I was struck at the end by what an externalistic and ritualistic church the EO is. It seems to exalt the physical things over the spiritual and seems to be saying that contact with physical things can cause spiritual grace to come to a person. (icons, venerating icons as part of the process of theosis, water baptism, relics, church building architecture an art, the structure of the church, bishops and priests, beards, pews, unleavened bread, facing east in prayer, dipping 3 times in baptism, making the sign of the cross, calendar dates, etc.)
As a Protestant Evangelical and Reformed Baptist, I agree with 7 of the points that he makes vs. RCC –
1. The Papacy is wrong, and unBiblical. Both the claim of universal jurisdiction / supremacy over all other bishops and the dogma of infallibility of 1870.
2. Purgatory and Indulgences are unbiblical and wrong.
3. Mandatory celibacy for priests (presbyters / elders / pastors in Protestant thinking) is wrong. * but see later in the post
4. Baptizo means “to immerse”, “to dip”, “to dunk”, “to overwhelm”, “to completely surround”; As a baptist, this is great confirmation for our position; and also; I knew this for a long time. it is great to hear it from an EO priest.
5. The Immaculate Conception (proclaimed Dogma in 1854) of Mary is wrong.
6. not letting the laity partake of the cup of the wine of the Eucharist is wrong.
7. He makes a good point about the unleavened bread ; and what I gather is that the loaf of bread should be whole and then torn / broken in the service. (rather than prepackaged pressed individual pieces) Being a missionary myself, and using Iranian flat bread and tearing it and dividing it up for the people is a powerful illustration; I can see that. But still, this seems like something to disagree over without fighting about it. It turns out that was the main issue of the background that led up to the East – West Schism of 1054. I remember when in church history class in 1984, in seminary, hearing about this for the first time, I thought, “wow, how silly to make such a big deal over that!”.
The Filoque (“and the Son”) clause added to the Nicene-Constantinoplitan Creed by the western Latin church (sometime in the 500s AD), became the main sticking point doctrinally, but it was unleavened bread that led to the larger break up of bigger issues. ( I have read his critique of the Filoque clause in his book, Rock and Sand, and yet, the accusation of heresy of this is based on a lot of assumptions and presuppositions, implications, that the EO read into it, making a lot of unwarranted conclusions to the RCC and Protestant doctrine of the Trinity. But I admit that I will have to study more on that issue.
But, Trenham did not mention Augustine’s theology of original sin and original guilt (the aspects that RCC holds to; those aspects of Augustine’s theology that agrees with Calvinism) (maybe he did, but I don’t see it in my notes, after listening several times all the way through) .
It is amazing to me that someone from such a rich upbringing and educational background in Presbyterian Reformed sound theology would be attracted away from that to the Eastern Orthodox Church as a substitute. (from the “Rock and Sand”, parts 1 and 2 lectures, and he has a book by the same name) – Josiah Trenham was a former student of R. C. Sproul, John Frame, John Gertsner, Richard Pratt, Roger Nicole, Sinclair Ferguson (Presbyterian – Westminster seminary professors) and J. I. Packer (conservative Anglican) and others (wow !) By leaving the Reformed Faith, Trenham is saying that human beings are not slaves to sin in their hearts and wills, before regeneration. (John 8:34 – Jesus said, “Whoever commits sin is the slave of sin”. John 6:44, 65 – “no one is able to come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws Him, and I will raise him up on the last day”. Acts 16:14 – “The Lord opened Lydia’s heart so that she could respond to what Paul was preaching.” Ephesians 2:1-3 – “we were slaves of lust and the flesh and the mind . . . by nature children of wrath”. 2 Timothy 2:24-26 – “. . . if perhaps God will grant repentance . . . ” that is truly amazing to have sat under these men and yet reject the doctrines of the bondage of the will and salvation by grace alone and justification by faith alone. (but true faith does not stay alone, it results in good works and fruit and change and growth.) By leaving the Reformed Faith, Trenham, seemingly, is denying original sin and original guilt, and is saying that human beings are not guilty by nature and birth. From what I understand, the Eastern Orthodox teaches and believes in libertarian free will and denies the bondage of the will in man to sin – human beings have a truly free will to choose goodness over sin. From what I understand, the EO emphasizes death as the result of Adam’s sin more than internal, heart corruption, and not original guilt in Adam at all. See the side bar category of “free will”; and especially this article I wrote years ago over at Beggar’s All
* more About Mandatory celibacy for priests
*Although I just found out from a Roman Catholic friend (that I have friendly discussions/debates with on Twitter and blogs – Allan Ruhl) that the EO does require celibacy for EO bishops. I asked him, “how do they get bishops, if all the priests or most of them are already married?” He answered, “from the monks.” So, Rev. Trenham’s statement was kind of “tricksy” for what it left out. As Golam said in Lord of the Rings, “Tricksy Hobbitans” – he was kind of “tricksy” for not mentioning that information about the monks and bishops.
Other issues such as some of the things in Rock and Sand – about Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide, and the role of tradition – we can discuss later. (see my article on “Tradition” linked below at Beggar’s All Reformation and Apologetics.) I am still amazed that he skewed them and caricatured them, even though he was educated in these doctrines before. I have many many other posts on those issues, so see the sidebar categories.
The Third Video: See also the video below to understand all of these comments:
Sacred Oral “Apostolic” Tradition
This article (linked to below) on “Tradition” answers father Trenham’s discussion of 2 Thessalonians 2:15, Sola Scriptura, oral tradition, and the context of the Thessalonians in the first century. “With all due respect”, If I could say to him, “father Trenham, I am amazed that you think the Protestant position on tradition from 2 Thessalonians 2:15 and 3:6, written around 52 AD to the time of Paul’s execution by Nero around 67 AD, that we think that Paul was expecting the Thessalonians to only go by those 2 letters from the time of 52 AD to the time of 67 AD. 1 Thessalonians was written in 51 AD, and 2 Thess. in 52 AD. You seem to think Protestants don’t understand that they really did have theses oral traditions, preaching, discipleship, and teachings that Paul taught them, but also you are neglecting the probability that between 52 and 67 AD, the Thessalonians would get a copy of Galatians (49 AD – before 1-2 Thess. !), or Romans (57-58 AD) or 1 Corinthians (55 AD) or Ephesians (61 AD) or Matthew (55-65 AD) or Mark (45-60 AD) or Luke (61 AD) or Timothy and Titus (63-67 AD) before Paul’s martyrdom. It seems obvious that the truths that the apostle Paul wrote about in Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, and the Gospel truths in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and later John, were also taught orally in the decades before they were written down. Obviously, the content of Paul’s preaching is repeated in later writings – Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1-2 Timothy, Titus, etc. I have never understood why they (both RCs and EOs) think that argument in the way they use 2 Thess. 2:15 has much persuasive power.” See more details in my article on “Tradition” below.
Father Trenham was right to point out the problem with the NIV’s choice of translating paradosis / παραδοσις (tradition) as “tradition” when it is negative (Matthew 15:2, 3, 6; Mark 7:3, 5, 8, 9, 13; Galatians 1:14; Colossians 2:8), but “teaching” when it is used in a positive sense (2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6; 1 Corinthians 11:2). It looks like they have updated (2011) 1 Cor. 11:2 to “tradition” and provided more footnotes to the 2 Thessalonian passages. But even my own 2002 NIV edition has footnotes for all three that explain that it is “tradition (s)”.
This interview by Austin Suggs (of Gospel Simplicity You Tube channel) helped me understand Josiah Trenham’s conversion better. He gives more details as to the process of him becoming Eastern Orthodox from his Presbyterian upbringing. It was evident that Josiah Trenham was persuaded by the feelings of awe and inspiration and reverence that he got from Eastern Orthodox worship and he says he was “unsatisfied” or “dis-satisfied” with Reformed Protestant worship services in church. He had some personal emotional experiences in EO churches when he went there growing up.
To this aspect, that EO worship gives more feelings of reverence and awe and majesty, etc., C. S. Lewis has some very relevant thoughts in his book, “The Abolition of Man”, pages 14-15. Lewis, writing in 1947, demonstrates how modern education has replaced objective truth with subjective feelings. When a man describes a waterfall as “That is sublime”, what he is really saying is that “I have feelings associated in my mind with the word “sublime”, or shortly, “I have sublime feelings.” (page 14, The Abolition of Man, C. S. Lewis)
“The confusion is continually present in language as we use it. We appear to be saying something very important about something: and actually we are only saying something about our own feelings.” (quoting from “The Green Book”) (ibid, p. 14) In my opinion, this insight is the root of all the appeals to church history, traditions, unity, art, architecture, and liturgical worship of Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. I hope this is not too harsh. But it does seem to be the root appeal of former Evangelicals who convert to Rome or EO. My friend Rod Bennett had the same sentiments. (see category of “Rod Bennett”.)
Again, I really like father Trenham and I respect many things about what he says in these videos and what he wrote about in his book, Rock and Sand. I appreciate his pointing out positves from Evangelical Protestantism: 1. Zeal for Missions 2. Love and Zeal for Scripture 3. Good scholarship and exegesis and commentaries 4. He uses the Greek texts for study and commentaries done mostly by Protestants.
At the 47:16 mark, and following mark he made a mistake in his definition of Sola Scriptura. It is NOT “the only authority to which one can appeal”; rather, Sola Scriptura is “the only infallible authority”. He gets the definition correct on page 159 of his book, Rock and Sand, but here in the video, it was not fully accurate; but that may just be a function of the reality of the impromptu nature of an interview.
In his book, Rock and Sand, on pages 174-171, father Trenham explains what and why the EO consider the Protestant view of salvation as heresy. (also in his videos of Rock and Sand, parts 1-2) He points out that the Evangelical Protestant emphasis is on the past experience of a personal experience that, for example, in saying, “I was saved” (at some point in time in the past). (in a church, or at an evangelistic crusade, praying a prayer, for example “the Sinner’s prayer”, “born again” experience, “asking Jesus into your heart”, etc.) He is right that this is a popular emphasis that is prevalent, especially among the more low-church independent evangelicals. He is also correct that the Greek NT also describes salvation as a present experience, “we are being saved” (1 Corinthians 1:18), and the most frequent one is “we will be saved”. I don’t understand why he did not seem to acknowledge that knowledgable Protestants know this; and that we have a rich theology of distinguishing between justification as a point in time at conversion, in which God declares us righteous and forgiven (Romans 3:28; 4:1-16; 5:1 – “being justified by faith, we have peace with God”; Galatians 2:16; John 3:15-18; John 5:24; 11:15; Acts 13:38-39; Ephesians 2:8-9), and an ongoing sanctifying process until we die, and that there will be a future aspect of salvation, which we call “glorification” with Christ in heaven. (See Romans 8:28-30; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 John 3:1-3)
At the end of this video, he emphasizes water baptism (using Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21; John 3:5) and entry into the church as part of salvation. He also mentions repentance and faith, which we Protestants appreciate. There is some truth to what he is saying, that the normal way a person makes their profession of faith is at the baptism ceremony and commitment to the local church. Since this article is becoming incredibly long, see my other articles under the categories of baptism and baptismal regeneration and Sola Fide or justification by Faith alone, for responses to what he says here in this video.