PDA

View Full Version : Church and Kirk



Rhydderch
Monday, December 26th, 2005, 01:54 AM
Most of the Celtic population in Scotland are Catholic and not Protestant.The great majority of Gaelic-speakers in Scotland now are Protestant Calvinists. However, there are a few islands in the Southern Outer Hebrides which are predominantly Roman Catholic.

Vestmannr
Tuesday, December 27th, 2005, 12:47 AM
Kristy Hume, being a Hume (and a distant cousin) is obviously Germanic (all Humes are.) The Hume/Home homeland is that of Bernicia on the eastern Borders: part of old Northumbria (the Anglo country.) I think the evidence tends towards supporting the idea that Scotland (as Ireland) is as Germanic as Celtic - Brittany and Wales are probably far more Celtic (but, still fairly Germanic.)


Also, let's take the Scottish religion into consideration. Presbyterianism was founded by Calvin basically and Knox to some degree. John Calvin was a Frenchman. The church of England is the Anglican church. Espiscopalianism, Anglicanism and Lutheranism are not Scottish religions. So it would seem to me that even the Scottish religion would seem to point at the Celtic-Norman thesis or direction.

Big drift in logic here: *Anglicanism* is English, Episcopalianism is Scottish. The Scottish Episcopal Church being the remnant of the older Scottish religious system before John Knox (who was a great persecutor of Scots - he killing and torturing Scottish Episcopalian laity wherever he found them, seized their churches, and deporting their clergy to the Americas whenever he caught them). That a very few Anglican parishes were established in Scotland does not change the essentially, and originally Scottish character of the Episcopal Church - those few Anglican parishes followed the Presbyterian practice and theology more closely. The Scottish Episcopalians, however, kept the older forms of worship at least until the Non-Jurors, and then still retained the older Scottish Ceremonial (which Scottish use the Presbyterians had rejected in full.) This is especially true in Aberdeen and the North-East, where the Episcopalians were the strongest through the persecutions. Scottish Episcopalianism and Scottish Catholicism are far more Scottish and authentic to Scotland than Presbyterianism. (I should point out, American Episcopalianism is the daughter of the Scottish Episcopal Church, rather than the Church of England - as one can see by tracing the history of their Books of Common Prayer. Also, note who it was that consecrated Seabury and the first American PECUSA bishops - the Scots.)

NewYorker
Tuesday, December 27th, 2005, 09:35 AM
Kristy Hume, being a Hume (and a distant cousin) is obviously Germanic (all Humes are.) The Hume/Home homeland is that of Bernicia on the eastern Borders: part of old Northumbria (the Anglo country.) I think the evidence tends towards supporting the idea that Scotland (as Ireland) is as Germanic as Celtic - Brittany and Wales are probably far more Celtic (but, still fairly Germanic.)



Big drift in logic here: *Anglicanism* is English, Episcopalianism is Scottish. The Scottish Episcopal Church being the remnant of the older Scottish religious system before John Knox (who was a great persecutor of Scots - he killing and torturing Scottish Episcopalian laity wherever he found them, seized their churches, and deporting their clergy to the Americas whenever he caught them). That a very few Anglican parishes were established in Scotland does not change the essentially, and originally Scottish character of the Episcopal Church - those few Anglican parishes followed the Presbyterian practice and theology more closely. The Scottish Episcopalians, however, kept the older forms of worship at least until the Non-Jurors, and then still retained the older Scottish Ceremonial (which Scottish use the Presbyterians had rejected in full.) This is especially true in Aberdeen and the North-East, where the Episcopalians were the strongest through the persecutions. Scottish Episcopalianism and Scottish Catholicism are far more Scottish and authentic to Scotland than Presbyterianism. (I should point out, American Episcopalianism is the daughter of the Scottish Episcopal Church, rather than the Church of England - as one can see by tracing the history of their Books of Common Prayer. Also, note who it was that consecrated Seabury and the first American PECUSA bishops - the Scots.)

[...] or have an agenda. The Church of Scotland (C of S, also known informally as The Kirk; until the 17th century officially the Kirk of Scotland) is the Christian national church of Scotland. It is a Presbyterian Church, decisively shaped by the Scottish Reformation. Just because a form of Scottish Episcopalianism which has some of it's states of affairs in common with Presbyterianism by design exists -- doesn't make it the official church of Scotland. Likewise Catholicism was a Jacobite Tudor-esque phenonemon and ended with Bonnie Prince Charlie's failure. If anyone has a problem with logic it's you not me.

Kirsty Hume is part of the Scots 'Norman' tribe and Vanessa Redgrave is part of the 'Saxon' tribe. That's the main difference we've been discussing here [...] The Scottish 'The Declaration of Arbroath' shows that of 6th April 1320 A.D, the Scots knew who they were. Scottish identity as distinct from English identity started with William the Conqueror who only made it part way up the island. The people he deposed intermarried with some of the rulers of the Scottish tribes who then came to call themselves kings and queens of Scotland. http://www.britarch.ac.uk/ba/ba27/ba27feat.html#driscoll indicates that the final British kingdom was absorbed into Scotland in 1114-1118.

Vestmannr
Tuesday, December 27th, 2005, 08:21 PM
[...] or have an agenda.
My agenda is the Truth, and standing up for my Clans. And - it doesn't change the fact that the Scottish Episcopal Church predates the Continental Presby Kirk in Scotland: and in fact, has been far more a preserver of Scottish culture at home and abroad.


The Church of Scotland (C of S, also known informally as The Kirk; until the 17th century officially the Kirk of Scotland) is the Christian national church of Scotland.
Doesn't change the fact that the Presby Kirk was imported, unlike Scottish Episcopalianism - which was native. The status of the Presby Kirk as 'state church' has always been an iffy one: the Scots nation never unanimously adopted the Presby faith, and its success had mostly been due to reeducation of children. In any case, at present it is hardly a 'national' Church - any guess as to how many Scots are actually practicing Presbyterianism? A small percentage, IIRC. I wouldn't call the 'Jacobites' a 'phenomenon' either: we're still here, and in Alba.


[...]
Again with the ad hominem... the 'Norman' contingent in Scotland is mixed with the genetic material of Angles, Britons, Gaels, Norse, etc. Kristy Hume, again - my kin, is of a type one can find on both sides of the border.


The Scottish 'The Declaration of Arbroath' shows that of 6th April 1320 A.D, the Scots knew who they were.
I'm a direct descendant of the man who carried it to the Pope - 'Scottish identity' even in the Declaration of Arbroath is as a composite nation: men of Galloway, Highlanders, Angles, Normans, etc.


Scottish identity as distinct from English identity started with William the Conqueror who only made it part way up the island.
That's novel - what of Kenneth MacAlpin? 'Scottish identity' was established that early, but in development well into modern times. One should remember - it was the Presby Kirk that affected the Act of Union. It happened on 'their watch', so to speak. ;)

The rest of your material is disjointed, and immaterial to your argument.

Wayfarer
Tuesday, December 27th, 2005, 08:53 PM
I have a question. Can someone tellme the difference between Presbytarian and Episcopalian churches? I thought it just had to do with the way the Kirk is administered rather than anything theological.
I ask because from what i can see here in Scotland nobody talks about being Prebytarian or Episcopalian but just protestant or Catholic. I dont think many people see it as being different in any real way other than just the name of the particular protestant church.

As for the question of relogious makeup of Scotland here is the 2001 census in scotland that deals with religion
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/stats/bulletins/00398-01.asp

I scanned through it quickly and i dont think it says about actual Church attendances however people who consider themselves Christian make up 65% of the population, Catholic are 15.88% of the population. Those with no religion make up 28% (more atheists in Scotland than Catholics :)) and a further 5.5% not answering. Bear in mind ethnic minorities make up only 2% of Scotlands population so their religions like Islam, Sikhism are irrelevant here.

Vestmannr
Tuesday, December 27th, 2005, 09:17 PM
There are theological differences between Episcopalianism and Presbyterianism - mostly in the area of comprehensiveness (Episcopalianism being a 'Via Media' between Rome and Geneva). The few Anglican parishes that were absorbed into the Scottish Episcopal Church in the 19th c. were probably indistinguishable from Presbyterians in form of worship, and theology (being staunch Calvinist as well, and foregoing the BCP.) The native parishes of the Scottish Episcopal Church, however, have always been to the more 'orthodox/catholic' theology and practice never having the Puritan influence that the Presbyterians and Anglicans (for the most part) imbibed. What we call 'High Church' and even 'Anglo-Catholic' in England was a revival there, but in Scotland it was a survival (though more advanced due to the Non-Jurors being far more successful in Scotland than England). See "Traditional Ceremonial and Customs Connected with the Scottish Liturgy" by F. C. Eeles F.R.Hist.S., F.S.A. Scot., Longmans, Green and Co., 1910 and "A Church for Scotland" by Gerald Stranraer-Mull.

Much of the what Scottish Episcopalianism (the Whusky Kirk) preserves, is in fact the old Scottish Catholic ways before the Romans began to enforce Italian customs in most of the local churches.

Modern Scottish Catholicism is in fact more 'Irish' in a modern sense (though not Celtic, but rather Italian/Franciscan). Scottish Presbyterianism has a severe rejection of tradition that either requires one to either ignore most of Scottish history, or the most extreme flights of fancy to construct some 'Proto-Presbyterians' in the past. Those are the major three Scottish Christian denominations, however - all just as Scottish (just as the Scottish Quakers and Scottish Methodists are just as Scottish.)

Rhydderch
Wednesday, December 28th, 2005, 04:37 AM
John Knox (who was a great persecutor of Scots - he killing and torturing Scottish Episcopalian laity wherever he found them, seized their churches, and deporting their clergy to the Americas whenever he caught them).Where did you read this rubbish?

On the contrary, Charles II tried to force Episcopalianism on Scotland. These were the "killing times", when those who would not conform (known in Scotland as Covenanters) were hunted down, tortured and killed; churches had to use the Episcopalian mode of worship, so Covenanters met in the hills. Soldiers roamed the country searching for these meetings, and anyone proven (and in many cases, not even that) to have attended could be executed, not just ministers. For example two women were drowned at Wigtown because they wouldn't attend Episcopalian services, but instead went to the hill meetings.

Rhydderch
Thursday, December 29th, 2005, 03:13 AM
Blood was spilled on both sides. The persecution of the Episcopalians was heaviest after 1688 - but had gone both ways. The Presbyterian ascendancy was not a one time event (of the late 17th c.): it occurred a couple of times (and was accompanied by the greatest pro-English sentiment, and rejection of Scotland's long-standing friendship with France, Norway, etc.) The Covenanters (whom I also count as ancestors) were not persecuted during the 17th c. merely for theology, but because they were also lawless and responsible for acts of violence and destruction. (Did not the first sermon of John Knox lead to the sacking of the Scottish church he preached in, the destruction of their ornaments, etc.? )No doubt some degree of mob violence occured from those supporting the Presbyterian side, but Charles II and the Episcopalians were responsible for a calculated, government persecution which not only banned them from using churches, but hunted, killed and tortured those who worshipped elsewhere; and yes, it was definitely for their theology. Some were however, in addition falsely accused of lawless or rebellious acts, but large numbers were killed purely on the grounds of non-conformity.

As for John Knox's supposed killings, you may be thinking of the murder of Cardinal Beaton. There is no foundation for the idea that Knox was responsible, and indeed he wasn't killed for being Roman Catholic, but for the burning to death of a number of men who had dared to criticise the degenerate Roman Church, and question it's spiritual authority.

Also, congregations sometimes destroyed the idols (crucifixes etc.) in their churches.

Vestmannr
Thursday, December 29th, 2005, 01:03 PM
No doubt some degree of mob violence occured from those supporting the Presbyterian side, but Charles II and the Episcopalians were responsible for a calculated, government persecution which not only banned them from using churches, but hunted, killed and tortured those who worshipped elsewhere; and yes, it was definitely for their theology.

Objectively - no, it makes it about their politics, not their theology. The main issue being Church government, who was going to have power, and the distribution of wealth: not theological items. Theology, rather, was used as an excuse (and a thinly veiled excuse - as the argument begin with social/political/economic statements, and ended with social/political/economic solutions.) The Presbyterians did the very same things to the Episcopalians and Catholics (and later to other Protestant sects.) In either case, there was violence on every side during the 16th-17th c. Presbyterian violence was no less, and no more justified (though far more destructive to the cultural heritage, infrastructure, and family societies). With the most famous, the Cameronians, it was very good socio-political causes which made the government hunt them.


Some were however, in addition falsely accused of lawless or rebellious acts, but large numbers were killed purely on the grounds of non-conformity.....Also, congregations sometimes destroyed the idols (crucifixes etc.) in their churches.

The historical record does not have it as congregations, but small groups of people committing the lawless, criminal, and rebellious acts of defacing and destroying churches. Using the term 'idols' is a polemical term, as any objective study of Catholicism (or Episcopalianism) cannot justify the idea of images being used for latreia (worship) which would be idolatry (rather, doulia.) There are historical accounts of members of the congregations being attacked and even killed for defending their sacred places. It should be noted that at the time of the Scottish Reformation, the majority of Scots were with the Episcopalian party of the Scottish Kirk, and that rather through re-education, their children and grand-children were 'won over' to Presbyterianism (some parishes not coming out of Presbyterianism to Episcopalianism even til the 1920s.)

And - again, the idea of images as 'idolatry' was an idea being borrowed from the iconoclastic religion (Judaism primarily, which Nestorianism and Islam had also borrowed from.) Iconoclasm meaning 'destruction of the Image', and being contrary to the Levitical commands to make images (such as those of the angels on the Tabernacle, the Mercy Seat, etc.)


As for John Knox's supposed killings, you may be thinking of the murder of Cardinal Beaton.

No, I'm not referring to Cardinal Beaton. Though, Knox did retire to Beaton's castle in the aftermath (which by law makes him an accomplice.) Killing was done by Knox's teaching after the first sermon he made at St. Giles - historical fact. It is also historical fact that Knox made one attempt to claim he had not wished the violence, nor intended for the destruction of the churches across Scotland. However, it was an early disclaimer, and not one he repeated. Knox is, to use a 'modern term', an instigator: he would in any modern court be easily convicted of knowingly fomenting violence and criminal vandalism.

There is also plenty of evidence to suggest those in England and Scotland which adopted Presbyterian (Extreme Protestant) ideas (especially the leaders) had done so not with a view against the corruption which existed in their local Catholic churches, but rather because it was a convenient way to seize wealth for themselves. This theory is supported by the fact that the common man's life was not elevated, but in most cases worse than it had been before the Presbyterian/Puritan ascendancy. The same can be said of the Moderate Protestants - whose main argument, again, was not theological; but rather, primarily whether the Pope had power over temporal government or not. We do know, however, that at the time of the two Presbyterian victories within the Protestant Church of Scotland, the majority of the laity were still on the side of the Moderate (episcopal) party - and that it took a few generations of education and missionary work to make the Extreme (presbyterian) party also the majority (and, it was never quite permanent or thorough, as many things survived which were decried by the Presbyterian leaders.)

Rhydderch
Friday, December 30th, 2005, 02:36 PM
Objectively - no, it makes it about their politics, not their theology. The main issue being Church government, who was going to have power, and the distribution of wealth: not theological items.The issue of Church government is largely a theological one. Christ is clearly the head of the Church, not the Pope or king Charles, and one minister should not have spiritual power over another just because he's a bishop; no mortal man is infallible, so one man's conscience should not be obliged to submit to another's. The Covenanters objection was that the Episcopalian system was unbiblical. Besides, there was a lot more to this than church government.

Now if it was all about power and wealth, why would someone risk his life preaching in the hills as an outlaw, when he could have had a comfortable life, with a respectable status in society (quite possibly as a bishop), simply by conforming to the Episcopalian mode? Indeed some churchmen did do this; their desire for a comfortable life etc. was more important to them than loyalty to Christ.

But in the case of the Roman Catholic and Episcopalian parties, it was indeed power and wealth which, in general, motivated them. No ruler has greater power over men than one who has control of their consciences, and who can act on their superstitions; and of course that hierarchical system lent itself to having very wealthy men at the top.


The historical record does not have it as congregations, but small groups of people committing the lawless, criminal, and rebellious acts of defacing and destroying churches.What historical record? I'm sure the Episcopalians made some effort to justify themselves, even if it involved false accusations.


Using the term 'idols' is a polemical term, as any objective study of Catholicism (or Episcopalianism) cannot justify the idea of images being used for latreia (worship) which would be idolatry (rather, doulia.)Bowing down to an image makes it an idol. Of course I'm well aware that people consider the image to be just a representation of God or a saint; but the same applies to the idols of any religion; they are considered representations, not actual gods.


It should be noted that at the time of the Scottish Reformation, the majority of Scots were with the Episcopalian party of the Scottish Kirk, and that rather through re-education, their children and grand-children were 'won over' to Presbyterianism (some parishes not coming out of Presbyterianism to Episcopalianism even til the 1920s.)All Scots were, prior to the Reformation, Roman Catholic or at least Roman Catholicised. Obviously they must have been later 'won over' somehow.


And - again, the idea of images as 'idolatry' was an idea being borrowed from the iconoclastic religion (Judaism primarily, which Nestorianism and Islam had also borrowed from.) Iconoclasm meaning 'destruction of the Image', and being contrary to the Levitical commands to make images (such as those of the angels on the Tabernacle, the Mercy Seat, etc.)"They changed the glory of the incorruptible (God) into an image made like corruptible man, and four-footed beasts and creeping things" This verse from the Bible is clearly condemning the use of images representing God, for the purpose of aiding worship.

The godly man Aaron fell into the mistake of allowing the Israelites to make a golden calf to represent the God who brought them "up out of the land of Egypt". God punished Israel for this.

The idea that it's alright to venerate images is essentially a Roman Catholic one, borrowed from the pagans; now perhaps you approve of that, but either way it is contrary to biblical teaching.


It is also historical fact that Knox made one attempt to claim he had not wished the violence, nor intended for the destruction of the churches across Scotland. However, it was an early disclaimer, and not one he repeated. Knox is, to use a 'modern term', an instigator: he would in any modern court be easily convicted of knowingly fomenting violence and criminal vandalism.The best thing to do is read what he said. He didn't preach violence and vandalism, nor foment it by his words.


There is also plenty of evidence to suggest those in England and Scotland which adopted Presbyterian (Extreme Protestant) ideas (especially the leaders) had done so not with a view against the corruption which existed in their local Catholic churches, but rather because it was a convenient way to seize wealth for themselves.The most convenient way to do that would have been to join with them, besides saving yourself the pain of torture or death; if someone wants wealth, he'll want to save his own life first.


This theory is supported by the fact that the common man's life was not elevated, but in most cases worse than it had been before the Presbyterian/Puritan ascendancy.What do you mean by 'elevated'?


We do know, however, that at the time of the two Presbyterian victories within the Protestant Church of Scotland, the majority of the laity were still on the side of the Moderate (episcopal) partyWhat is the relevance of this?


- and that it took a few generations of education and missionary workAnd the blessing of God. Such success did not occur in other countries where the same doctrines had sprung up.

In marked contrast Episcopalianism did not flourish in Scotland even though its proponents attempted to enforce it with terror.


to make the Extreme (presbyterian) party also the majority (and, it was never quite permanent or thorough, as many things survived which were decried by the Presbyterian leaders.)I'm sure they did. Heresy has always been a problem in churches.

The Presbyterian church is not "Extreme Protestant". Rather, Episcopalianism in Britain is/was a less extreme form of the unbiblical Roman Catholic system, which is why many Protestants objected to it.

Vestmannr
Saturday, December 31st, 2005, 12:37 PM
... one minister should not have spiritual power over another just because he's a bishop; no mortal man is infallible, so one man's conscience should not be obliged to submit to another's.

Yet this is exactly what continued to happen, but now Elders instead of Bishops, the Manse rather than a Synod.


Now if it was all about power and wealth, why would someone risk his life preaching in the hills as an outlaw, when he could have had a comfortable life, with a respectable status in society (quite possibly as a bishop), simply by conforming to the Episcopalian mode? Indeed some churchmen did do this; their desire for a comfortable life etc. was more important to them than loyalty to Christ.

Except those same churchmen resisted to the death for Christ under Presbyterian persecution. It then had more to do with being 'comfortable'. And, it wasn't as if everyone would become a bishop - men risk life, limb, and fortune for all sorts of adventures: even religious ones.


But in the case of the Roman Catholic and Episcopalian parties, it was indeed power and wealth which, in general, motivated them. No ruler has greater power over men than one who has control of their consciences, and who can act on their superstitions; and of course that hierarchical system lent itself to having very wealthy men at the top.

Except - power and wealth were not the motivators of the recusant Catholics and Episcopalians, again, who continued on for generations under Presbyterian persecution and proscription. The Presby Kirk acted in the same way by controlling conscience, acting on superstition, and having wealthy men at the top - it simply replaced on elite group with another elite group. How many were punished for breaking the Mosaic laws under Presbyterianism? Many - enough that Rabbie Burns made not a few jokes about the severity (such as the man who killed his cat for mousing on the Sabbath - an illustration of what cat endured, men endured.)


What historical record?

Contemporary witnesses, many of them of the Presbyterian party: mobs killing, looting, defacing and destroying happened all across Scotland, and it wasn't 'false' or Episcopalian propaganda.


Bowing down to an image makes it an idol. Of course I'm well aware that people consider the image to be just a representation of God or a saint; but the same applies to the idols of any religion; they are considered representations, not actual gods.

That definition is imprecise 'bowing down' does not make an image an idol. The theology of iconography also is quite clear that it is more than just representation, but any honour given to a saint passes through to their Prototype, which is Christ Himself, who is the Image of the Father. And, on the contrary, pagans and heathens did speak of their idols as being 'the god'. So, again, accusing Catholic or Episcopalian of idolatry is bearing false witness.


All Scots were, prior to the Reformation, Roman Catholic or at least Roman Catholicised. Obviously they must have been later 'won over' somehow.

And the point is, they never were all won over - there has never been a time that Scotland was 100% Presbyterian (and we'll never see the day it will be either.) Roman Catholicism can at least make that claim - there were centuries when Scotland was Roman Catholic, and every Scotsman can claim that heritage as his own (something we can't all do for Presbyterianism.)


"They changed the glory of the incorruptible (God) into an image made like corruptible man, and four-footed beasts and creeping things" This verse from the Bible is clearly condemning the use of images representing God, for the purpose of aiding worship.

It clearly isn't - rather, that is isogetic proof-texting. The idea of iconoclasm being read into the text. Exegesis would show that the images being made were of corruptible man, four-footed beasts, and creeping things - with Christian iconography, the image is of the incorruptible God-Man, Jesus Christ who is the 'express image (eikon) of the Father', and the Saints being 'partakers in his Divinity' bear the 'likeness (eikon) of the Son'.


The godly man Aaron fell into the mistake of allowing the Israelites to make a golden calf to represent the God who brought them "up out of the land of Egypt". God punished Israel for this.

Which is not analogous to iconography - the golden calf was an idol of a god, not the image of God. The golden calf was not made to represent the God of the Israelites, but a god of Egypt.


The idea that it's alright to venerate images is essentially a Roman Catholic one, borrowed from the pagans; now perhaps you approve of that, but either way it is contrary to biblical teaching.

Not contrary to biblical teaching - Moses was commanded by God to make images of the angels (see Leviticus in the description of the tabernacle and Ark of the Covenant). At that time, God was not incarnate so no one had 'seen God'. However, the singular and unique event of the Incarnation changed all that - as St. John said, 'we have seen him, touched him, etc.' And Christ, 'if you have seen me, you have seen the Father'. Fitting then, that the Evangelist St. Luke was the first to paint an icon (previous to even writing his Gospel) - an icon which still exists today. And, again venerate does not equal worship.


The best thing to do is read what he said. He didn't preach violence and vandalism, nor foment it by his words.

So much for Presbyterian submission to Scripture, eh? ;) I've read Knox, part of what my father made us read growing up (though, more of G. Campbell Morgan). However, the fruits of John Knox were violence and vandalism - and he enjoyed the fruits of those labours as well.


The most convenient way to do that would have been to join with them, besides saving yourself the pain of torture or death; if someone wants wealth, he'll want to save his own life first.

Not true - many a man has died for greed, love of gold or even a single jewel. And, the most convenient way to wealth was not 'to join them' - these folk were already part of the Catholic Church when they protested. They sought gain, and did gain.


What do you mean by 'elevated'?

Traded one master for another - corrupt Cathedral for corrupt Manse. The common man continued to suffer in Scotland.


What is the relevance of this?

The relevance is, that without pressure being applied, the majority of Scots were choosing the majority side of Moderate Protestantism over Extreme Presbyterianism.


And the blessing of God. Such success did not occur in other countries where the same doctrines had sprung up.

If that's the mark of the blessing of God, then we'd have to say the same about Mohammed - and Rome flourishing in the countries that stayed Roman Catholic. ;)


In marked contrast Episcopalianism did not flourish in Scotland even though its proponents attempted to enforce it with terror.

They were simply out-terrorized by someone else.


I'm sure they did. Heresy has always been a problem in churches.

Except in this case, they weren't the actual heretics - simply keeping what they could of the Ways of God in the face of an officialized heresy.


The Presbyterian church is not "Extreme Protestant". Rather, Episcopalianism in Britain is/was a less extreme form of the unbiblical Roman Catholic system, which is why many Protestants objected to it.

No - Episcopalianism was not 'less extreme' Roman Catholicism. It was quite clearly Protestantism, though more on the original model of Martin Luther (the Episcopalians having their roots with the teachers of Luther's doctrines in Scottish churches for quite awhile before Knox.) Presbyterians separated out of the Protestant movement when it became clear that the biblical office of the episcopos would be retained by the new Scottish Protestant Church. Presbyterianism, being the teaching of John Calvin, was indeed 'Extreme Protestantism' - as it called for an overthrow in the teaching, practice, and even theology handed down from the Apostles. It also overthrew Scottish history and culture. 'Extreme' also in the sense of being Judaizing (contrary to the teachings of Acts 15, it tried to lay the Mosaic Law on the Scots nation, teach post-New Testament Judaic/Islamic Iconoclasm, and much else quite extreme.) When compared with the range of Protestant movements, Calvinism is the extreme (even compared to Pietism.)

Rhydderch
Monday, January 2nd, 2006, 06:29 AM
Yet this is exactly what continued to happen, but now Elders instead of Bishops, the Manse rather than a Synod.You don't seem to understand Presbyterianism very well. One elder is not under a divine obligation to submit his conscience to another's, and there is no hierarchy.


Except those same churchmen resisted to the death for Christ under Presbyterian persecution.Can you give me a few names of men who died specifically for their Episcopalianism?


And, it wasn't as if everyone would become a bishop - men risk life, limb, and fortune for all sorts of adventures: even religious ones.No doubt the majority wouldn't have become bishops, simply because higher positions are rarer in any hierarchical system.
True, men risk their lives for adventure, but few would submit to extreme torture and death when a simple recantation would give them relief, unless it was for something they valued more than life.

For example, one of the women who was drowned at Wigtown was on the point of death, when the soldiers dragged her out of the water again, and told her to recant. She still refused, and so back she went into the water.


Except - power and wealth were not the motivators of the recusant Catholics and Episcopalians, again, who continued on for generations under Presbyterian persecution and proscription.Generations of 'persecution'? I'd like to know your definition of that word.


The Presby Kirk acted in the same way by controlling conscience, acting on superstition, and having wealthy men at the top - it simply replaced on elite group with another elite group.The Presbyterian system does not lend itself to this. Any sort of leaning that way is a step toward the Episcopalian system, and those who would advocate such a step would no doubt have favoured the latter system.
We know that many men existed in the Presbyterian church (when it was supported by the state) who were quite happy with the other system, because their loyalty was easily switched when persecution of Covenanters came. Indeed some became persecutors themselves. Many like-minded men were almost certainly reabsorbed by the Presbyterian church when it was once again supported by the state.


How many were punished for breaking the Mosaic laws under Presbyterianism? Many - enough that Rabbie Burns made not a few jokes about the severity (such as the man who killed his cat for mousing on the Sabbath - an illustration of what cat endured, men endured.)Rabbie Burns was a bad man with a grudge against the Presbyterian church; man's sinful nature is averse to having his sin condemned, so a church which has a stronger tendency to insist on God's laws will no doubt be more unpopular with bad men. It's not difficult to invent stories, and I've heard numerous ridiculous rumours about the Presbyterian church which 'do the rounds'. Most of them have little or no basis in fact.


Contemporary witnesses, many of them of the Presbyterian party: mobs killing, looting, defacing and destroying happened all across Scotland, and it wasn't 'false' or Episcopalian propaganda.I'd be interested to see a few examples, to put it in context. In any case, the burning to death of a popular man (by the increasingly unpopular clergy), whom any common man can see was not worthy of punishment, does tend to make people angry. And when people see the lies of the clergy exposed, and see they've been deceived, it does create anger. Indeed Scotland was a wild place in those days, and mobs made it clear when they were angry. To say that Presbyterians were responsible, or that it was done in the name of Presbyterianism, is ridiculous.


That definition is imprecise 'bowing down' does not make an image an idol. The theology of iconography also is quite clear that it is more than just representation, but any honour given to a saint passes through to their Prototype, which is Christ Himself, who is the Image of the Father.A Buddhist could probably argue the same thing: "Just a different way of worshipping the same god". The Bible also forbids necromancy, which is what praying to saints is.


And, on the contrary, pagans and heathens did speak of their idols as being 'the god'.How about a statue of Christ? There is no difference; both are representations of someone unseen.



And the point is, they never were all won over - there has never been a time that Scotland was 100% Presbyterian (and we'll never see the day it will be either.) Roman Catholicism can at least make that claim - there were centuries when Scotland was Roman Catholic, and every Scotsman can claim that heritage as his own (something we can't all do for Presbyterianism.)It was all pagan if we go further back. That doesn't make paganism more legitimate (of course some would say it does). God commands men to depart from the sin of their forefathers.


Exegesis would show that the images being made were of corruptible man, four-footed beasts, and creeping things - with Christian iconography, the image is of the incorruptible God-Man, Jesus Christ who is the 'express image (eikon) of the Father', and the Saints being 'partakers in his Divinity' bear the 'likeness (eikon) of the Son'.The images being made were "the likenesses of corruptible man", intended to represent the incorruptible God. It is a reference to those who use earthly, corruptible things to represent a divine, incorruptible Being, in order to worship him through that object.


Which is not analogous to iconography - the golden calf was an idol of a god, not the image of God. The golden calf was not made to represent the God of the Israelites, but a god of Egypt.It was well recognised among the Israelites that their God Jehovah had brought them up out of the land of Egypt. Besides, Aaron was clearly a godly man and would not for one moment have condoned the worship of another god. Instead, he fell into the less heinous sin of allowing them to worship the true God through an image.


Not contrary to biblical teaching - Moses was commanded by God to make images of the angels (see Leviticus in the description of the tabernacle and Ark of the Covenant).If I thought that was wrong, then I'd say it's wrong to make a statue of Lord Nelson at Trafalgar square in London. It's not wrong. However it would be wrong to bow down to it.


At that time, God was not incarnate so no one had 'seen God'. However, the singular and unique event of the Incarnation changed all that - as St. John said, 'we have seen him, touched him, etc.' And Christ, 'if you have seen me, you have seen the Father'.If you think this somehow allows the use of images through which to worship God, then, um........there's something seriously wrong with your logic.


Fitting then, that the Evangelist St. Luke was the first to paint an icon (previous to even writing his Gospel) - an icon which still exists today.I'm not sure whether you're joking here. But anyway, do you seriously think you have proof that Luke painted whatever icon you're referring to?



I'll continue.

Rhydderch
Monday, January 2nd, 2006, 02:47 PM
So much for Presbyterian submission to Scripture, eh? What's this supposed to mean?


I've read Knox, part of what my father made us read growing up (though, more of G. Campbell Morgan). However, the fruits of John Knox were violence and vandalism - and he enjoyed the fruits of those labours as well.The fact that violence may sometimes have occurred after reformers speaking, doesn't mean they were responsible. As I indicated, in the Scotland of those days, someone only needed to tell the truth, for an ignorant mob to be stirred up. But of course this sort of thing also occurred as a direct result of treatment of Protestants and their cause, not just from preachers exposing lies.


Not true - many a man has died for greed, love of gold or even a single jewel. And, the most convenient way to wealth was not 'to join them' - these folk were already part of the Catholic Church when they protested. They sought gain, and did gain.Whatever, join them, stay with them, both essentially the same thing.


Traded one master for another - corrupt Cathedral for corrupt Manse. The common man continued to suffer in Scotland.I'm not sure that their condition remained the same, but in any case, it's their spiritual welfare which really matters if we're talking about which one was beneficial.


The relevance is, that without pressure being applied, the majority of Scots were choosing the majority side of Moderate Protestantism over Extreme Presbyterianism.Preaching is hardly applying pressure, unlike the High Church Episcopalians with their 'killing times'; that's pressure.


If that's the mark of the blessing of God, then we'd have to say the same about Mohammed - and Rome flourishing in the countries that stayed Roman Catholic. Read my words again. You'll notice I never said it's the ''mark of the blessing''. I believe that what happened in Scotland, happened through the blessing of God.


Except in this case, they weren't the actual heretics - simply keeping what they could of the Ways of God in the face of an officialized heresy.For someone who claims to be neither Presbyterian, Episcopalian or Roman Catholic, you are strangely anti-Presbyterian, even down to theology. Apparently claiming neutrality (or did I misunderstand you), yet you've made up your mind that Presbyterians are heretics.


No - Episcopalianism was not 'less extreme' Roman Catholicism. It was quite clearly Protestantism,I was referring more particularly to its system of church government. Obviously that church itself is defined as Protestant.


Presbyterians separated out of the Protestant movement when it became clear that the biblical office of the episcopos would be retained by the new Scottish Protestant Church.Clearly Presbyterians don't believe the biblical office of episcopos had the same function as the Episcopalian Bishops and Archbishops.


Presbyterianism, being the teaching of John Calvin, was indeed 'Extreme Protestantism' - as it called for an overthrow in the teaching, practice, and even theology handed down from the Apostles.It called for a restoration of the Apostolic doctrines which had been increasingly corrupted and thrown away as the Dark Ages wore on. It called for the widespread circulation of these doctrines which had in many cases been forbidden to be read by common men.


It also overthrew Scottish history and culture.It discouraged the Paganism and superstition fostered by the Roman Church.


'Extreme' also in the sense of being Judaizing (contrary to the teachings of Acts 15, it tried to lay the Mosaic Law on the Scots nationThe New Testament backs up the Old, and the "Law of Moses" referred to in Acts 15, is, in the context, clearly the ''ceremonial'' aspect of it, which involves laws designed to remind people of the Messiah (Jesus) by ceremonies which created analogies of spiritual things. Because Christ was fully revealed once he came to earth and died, these ceremonies and rituals were no longer necessary. But the moral law of Moses was definitely not revoked in the New Testament.


When compared with the range of Protestant movements, Calvinism is the extreme (even compared to Pietism.)Well, truth does sometimes seem extreme.

Vestmannr
Wednesday, January 4th, 2006, 10:18 AM
One elder is not under a divine obligation to submit his conscience to another's, and there is no hierarchy.

I do understand it - those not Elders do have to submit to the Elders, which is why people were often called before the Elders to be tried in an ecclesiastical court. The Elders are a hierarchy - they have power over others (and did wield it), not 'hieros': true, but still using religion as a political power. Consider the Rev. John Troup, Rev. Alexander Greig and the other Episcopalian clergyman whom a Presbyterian court imprisoned in 1748 at the Tolbooth for simply having more than four people present at a service. That is official persecution, of the type that requires a hierarchy (the court.) It was a sin against conscience that allowed the Kirk to persecute those who wore something as simple as the academic gown, the white surplice, had an altar or lit a candle - even Protestants, as being items of 'Popery'.


Can you give me a few names of men who died specifically for their Episcopalianism?

Archbishop Sharp, for one. Charles I, secondly (though he died in England, it was with the express involvement of the Presbyterians.) I could probably list more names - but those whom Cromwell killed or shipped off to the Americas to die should be considered, as well as those killed in the Glorious Revolution (and the massacre at Glencoe), those killed in the Fifteen and the Forty-Five (1715,1745 - and many more shipped off to America), the Highland Clearances beginning in 1747, the Proscription, etc. Those Jacobite martyrs (especially in the Borders, Highlands, Islands, and the Northeast.)


True, men risk their lives for adventure, but few would submit to extreme torture and death when a simple recantation would give them relief, unless it was for something they valued more than life.

Which might explain inflated numbers for Presbyterians at certain points in Scottish history - some did recent, and join the Presbys. However, many had torture, death, and exile for not submitting their Conscience (or Faith in Christ) to the demands of the Presbyterians.


For example, one of the women who was drowned at Wigtown was on the point of death, when the soldiers dragged her out of the water again, and told her to recant. She still refused, and so back she went into the water.

My point exactly - she was a Covenanter, but there were more just like her who died for their Faith and were Catholic, Episcopalian, Quaker, etc.


Generations of 'persecution'? I'd like to know your definition of that word.

From 1688 until the early 20th c. when the last vestiges of restrictions were lifted from the Catholics and Episcopalians.


The Presbyterian system does not lend itself to this.

Sure it does - ecclesiastical courts were very common with the Presbyterians where just such a thing played out. And how could such strict adherence to the Mosaic Law not be superstition? Bottom line: it was a yoke around the neck of the common man, who had to conform or be punished by the ecclesiastical court.


Rabbie Burns was a bad man with a grudge against the Presbyterian church;

I disagree. If the Presbyterians were behaving like the 'righteous Chosen' they claimed to have been, they wouldn't have produced the same fruit of violence: but, they committed the same sins that every religion mixed with political power does.


It's not difficult to invent stories, and I've heard numerous ridiculous rumours about the Presbyterian church which 'do the rounds'. Most of them have little or no basis in fact.

Yes, and the Presbyterian polemic about Episcopalians, Catholics, et al are also ridiculous rumours which have little or no basis in fact. Particularly, claiming the abuse of a system is inherent in the system itself.


To say that Presbyterians were responsible, or that it was done in the name of Presbyterianism, is ridiculous.

We'll give you that out, if you give the same to the Catholics and Episcopalians. ;)


A Buddhist could probably argue the same thing: "Just a different way of worshipping the same god". The Bible also forbids necromancy, which is what praying to saints is.

That would be a false analogy as far as the Buddhist is concerned. Prayer to saints, however, is most certainly not necromancy. That is simply Calvinist polemic, and not actually what the theology of the communion of Saints is about. It also betrays a lack of knowledge of the Scripture - how can it be 'necromancy' if they are alive in Christ? Those who condemn prayer to the Saints fall into the same error of the Sadducees, "Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. ..." (22nd chapter of Matthew, KJV.) Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are not the dead, but the living in the Resurrection.


How about a statue of Christ? There is no difference; both are representations of someone unseen.

Statue, painting - they are all 'imago'/'eikona': same as the human form is.


It was all pagan if we go further back. That doesn't make paganism more legitimate (of course some would say it does).

Not according to St. Augustine: he noted that Christianity is the most ancient religion, paganism being the loss of that original Tradition.


The images being made were "the likenesses of corruptible man", intended to represent the incorruptible God. It is a reference to those who use earthly, corruptible things to represent a divine, incorruptible Being, in order to worship him through that object.

Again, that is isogesis - it is referring to the worship of the created rather than the Creator. The question that needs answered is: is Jesus Christ corruptible? Are his Saints corruptible? No - they are glorified (that, and if you separate between the Divinity and the Humanity, that ceases to be orthodox and becomes Nestorian.)


Instead, he fell into the less heinous sin of allowing them to worship the true God through an image.

That's isogesis - the text says they were worshipping the Golden Calf, not that they thought the Golden Calf was a representation of YHWH. In any case - we still have the 'graven images' of the angels on the Mercy Seat following that incident (and the angels woven on the Tabernacle itself.) The people most definitely bowed down before the Mercy Seat.


I'm not sure whether you're joking here. But anyway, do you seriously think you have proof that Luke painted whatever icon you're referring to?

I'm not joking - local history in the East is unanimous in St. Luke having been the first iconographer. At least three of his works survive, though having layers of 'maintenance' paint on top of the original. One is still at St. Catherine's in Sinai, another exists in Russia, the third I believe might be on Mt. Athos ... or somewhere here in the West. Skepticism to simply discount because one does *not* want to believe is not logical.



I'll continue.

Aye.

Vestmannr
Wednesday, January 4th, 2006, 10:52 AM
What's this supposed to mean?

Simply this: that Presbyterianism is no more a perfect system than Episcopalianism and Catholicism are. Presbyterianism is just as (and often more) guilty of idiosyncracy with its interpretation of the Scriptures.


The fact that violence may sometimes have occurred after reformers speaking, doesn't mean they were responsible.

Same goes for Catholics, and the episcopalian Reformers.


I'm not sure that their condition remained the same, but in any case, it's their spiritual welfare which really matters if we're talking about which one was beneficial.

That their spiritual welfare improved any is highly debatable. In this case, how about the words of the Battlefield Band song "The Yew Tree" by Brian McNeill :
"Did you no' think tae tell when John Knox himsel'
Preached under your branches sae black
To the poor common folk who would lift up the yoke
O' the bishops and priests frae their backs
But you knew the bargain he sold them
And freedom was only one part
For the price o' their souls was a gospel sae cold
It would freeze up the joy in their hearts"

True enough - and losing one's joy is tantamount to losing spiritual welfare.


Preaching is hardly applying pressure, unlike the High Church Episcopalians with their 'killing times'; that's pressure.

So - the Presbyterians turn around and made their own killing times, clearances, proscription and penal laws.


I believe that what happened in Scotland, happened through the blessing of God.

And not a few see it as quite the opposite.


For someone who claims to be neither Presbyterian, Episcopalian or Roman Catholic, you are strangely anti-Presbyterian, even down to theology. Apparently claiming neutrality (or did I misunderstand you), yet you've made up your mind that Presbyterians are heretics.

Anti-Presbyterian? More like against its polemic against other systems. Where Presbyterianism is based on positive statements about what it believes - fine. Where it is based on negative statements about what it isn't (particularly polemic against Catholics, Orthodox, Episcopalians and Anglicans, Methodists, Quakers, etc.) then sure I have an issue with it - same as I do with any religion that behaves the same. And, as for heresy - that is from a historically objective pov a given - Presbyterianism doesn't look or sound like anything Christianity had previously, and heresy coming from the Greek for 'choosing for oneself', that only follows... I'd have to say, if I was going to be one of the three, it would definitely not be Presbyterian. I can't see that I could ever accept Papal claims either (especially not as they've developed with Trent and Vatican I), and the past few decades of the SEC give little hope of calling it a Church much longer.


I was referring more particularly to its system of church government.

Presbyterian church government is extreme, as is Congregationalism, or Pietism - they're just steps on the ladder of Individualism (Presbyterianism still holding to an elite.) The Episcopalian system of Church government is world's away from the Roman Catholic system, with its magisterium, etc. - Papal and Episcopalian are quite different. I would say the Episcopalian form of Church government is far more like the Orthodox than the Catholic.


Clearly Presbyterians don't believe the biblical office of episcopos had the same function as the Episcopalian Bishops and Archbishops.

Sure, but that is also isogesis - since they don't distinguish between presvyteros and episcopos (despite the terms appearing in the Pauline Epistles to Timothy in the same verses, as a distinction) they conflate the two - every Presbyter behaves as a Bishop, and the 'Manse' becomes the Synod of Bishops.


It called for a restoration of the Apostolic doctrines which had been increasingly corrupted and thrown away as the Dark Ages wore on. It called for the widespread circulation of these doctrines which had in many cases been forbidden to be read by common men.

Two things - one, the cause is honorable, the execution horrible. The produced little to nothing like the Apostolic doctrine. (And, the idea of a 'Dark Age' is no longer an accepted academic view of European history - it belongs purely in the realm of religion polemic, specifically anti-Catholic.) Secondly, the idea that common men were forbidden to read Scripture is a Protestant polemic, again - not necessarily the case historically. I think Prof. Eamonn Duffy of Cambridge U., "Stripping the Altars" is a clear record of the state of lay religion in Britain on the eve of the Reformation: hardly a state of theological and Scriptural ignorance.


It discouraged the Paganism and superstition fostered by the Roman Church.

See - there is that little problem again. Why start putting out that sort of nonsense? You don't want 'ridiculous rumors' spread about your Church, but have no qualms doing it to others?


...clearly the ''ceremonial'' aspect of it, which involves laws designed to remind people of the Messiah (Jesus) by ceremonies which created analogies of spiritual things. Because Christ was fully revealed once he came to earth and died, these ceremonies and rituals were no longer necessary. But the moral law of Moses was definitely not revoked in the New Testament.

More isogesis that is not 'apparent' from the text itself, nor found in the Christian tradition before Calvin. If the moral law was not revoked - then why does Jesus Christ himself (nor his Apostles) repeat the Sabbath obligation of the Mosaic law? (Rhetorical question) IOW, you have a good explanation for within Calvinism for clique maintenance, but it doesn't sell outside Calvinism: to the rest of us, it is simply what the Apostles of Acts 15 were warning against.


Well, truth does sometimes seem extreme.

But not the Truth of Christ, who called us to moderation. ;)

Here is a little bit more from the Battlefield Band:


[1879:] Nothing could be better evidence of how profoundly the mind of Scotland was moved by the evangel of Knox and his brother labourers than the sudden disappearance from oral tradition of many of the songs and ballads which had been popular for many years. There can be no doubt that many of these songs were what would now be considered highly licentious, although among our rude and plain-speaking forefathers and foremothers they may have passed current without evoking a blush on the face of village maidens. The Reformation called for an alteration in morals as well as in doctrines, and these songs were not only discouraged, but a poetic reformer issued a volume of "Gude and Godly Ballats", in which new and pious words were adapted to the old airs. In poetic merit this collection is wretched [...]. Still, they helped to supplant the old songs and ballads [...].
We hear no more of the "Ring sangs" [ballads] after the Reformation, though it is not impossible that they may have been continued in obscure places for some time, especially in quarters where the fervour of the Reformation hardly reached. [...]

Rhydderch
Wednesday, January 4th, 2006, 02:26 PM
I do understand it - those not Elders do have to submit to the Elders, which is why people were often called before the Elders to be tried in an ecclesiastical court. The Elders are a hierarchy - they have power over others (and did wield it), not 'hieros': true, but still using religion as a political power.I mean a hierarchy in the sense of a pyramid of power, where one man at the top can enforce his opinion on other ministers, and tell them they must teach this or not teach that. It doesn't work too badly if a godly man is on top, but the problem is it lends itself to heretical ideas being enforced, far more so than does the Presbyterian system. That's not to say the latter is immune, but for those who are aiming for power and wealth, the Episcopalian system is a lot more suitable, and there would have been no use pulling out of it.

As for submitting to elders, laity are not forced to submit their conscience to anybody, since they are not the teachers. But breaking the moral law is a different matter, in which case the elders/ministers have the power of excommunication.

Edit: The point I'm making is that John Knox and the founders and defenders of the Presbyterian church clearly weren't in it for wealth and power. That is not the base on which it was founded.

But that's not to say selfish and greedy men were never in that church.


Consider the Rev. John Troup, Rev. Alexander Greig and the other Episcopalian clergyman whom a Presbyterian court imprisoned in 1748 at the Tolbooth for simply having more than four people present at a service.Entirely different to hunting down, torturing and killing men who would not recant their beliefs. The restrictions there were also over concerns about Episcopalian loyalty following the Jacobite uprising.


Archbishop Sharp, for one.He's another example of someone murdered by a mob, not executed by a Presbyterian government. Indeed it happened during the reign of Charles II, and therefore when Presbyterians were being officially persecuted.


Charles I, secondly (though he died in England, it was with the express involvement of the Presbyterians.)Absolutely not. In fact the Presbyterians were notable in their opposition to Charles' execution. Archibald Campbell, the first Covenanter executed, protested against the putting to death of Charles.

Here's a quote from a Presbyterian of the time:

“‘Yea,’ says Baillie, who was a high loyalist, though a staunch Covenanter, “Had we been ten times victorious in set battles, it was our conclusion to have laid down our army at his feet (Charles), and on our knees presented nought but our first supplications. We had no other end of our wars; we sought no crowns; we aimed at no lands and honours; we desired but to keep our own in the service of our prince, as our ancestors had done; we loved no new masters. Had our throne been void, and our voices been sought for the filling of Fergus’ chair, we would have died ere any had sitten down on that fatal marble but Charles alone.’ Such, we have reason to believe, were the sentiments of the whole Scottish nation at this time. Such was their loyalty, as it appears in all their public papers,
and, as it was proved, through all the political changes that followed, down to the restoration of Charles II., which was brought about mainly by the Presbyterians. And such were the men who are stigmatized to this day as republican and anti-monarchical rebels!” (Thomas McCrie, The Story of the Scottish Church, first published 1874).


Besides, Charles was not put to death for Episcopalianism, but for High Treason.


I could probably list more names - but those whom Cromwell killed or shipped off to the Americas to die should be considered,Nothing to do with Episcopalianism.


as well as those killed in the Glorious Revolution (and the massacre at Glencoe), those killed in the Fifteen and the Forty-Five (1715,1745 - and many more shipped off to America), the Highland Clearances beginning in 1747, the Proscription, etc. Those Jacobite martyrs (especially in the Borders, Highlands, Islands, and the Northeast.)We're not talking about Hanoverians versus Jacobites, by the way.

As for the Highland Clearances, that affected Presbyterians as much as anyone else, indeed in later times they would have been affected more than anybody.


And how could such strict adherence to the Mosaic Law not be superstition?It could not be superstition if it was instituted by God and still valid today.


Bottom line: it was a yoke around the neck of the common man, who had to conform or be punished by the ecclesiastical court.Any law is a yoke around the neck of a criminal.


I disagree. If the Presbyterians were behaving like the 'righteous Chosen' they claimed to have beenWhat evidence do you have for Presbyterians claiming to be the "righteous Chosen".


We'll give you that out, if you give the same to the Catholics and Episcopalians. ;)Torture and execution were explicitly and officially carried out in the name of Roman Catholicism and Episcopalianism. Truth isn't subjective ;)


Prayer to saints, however, is most certainly not necromancy. That is simply Calvinist polemic, and not actually what the theology of the communion of Saints is about. It also betrays a lack of knowledge of the Scripture - how can it be 'necromancy' if they are alive in Christ? Those who condemn prayer to the Saints fall into the same error of the Sadducees, "Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. ..." (22nd chapter of Matthew, KJV.) Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are not the dead, but the living in the Resurrection.You're confusing physical with spiritual death. Necromancy is communicating (or attempting to) with those who are physically dead, just like the witch who supposedly communicated with the prophet Samuel.

The Bible makes no distinction between necromancy with souls in heaven and souls in hell.

Edit: Besides, a logical conclusion from your argument would be that talking to unbelievers is necromancy. How can it not be necromancy if they are "dead in sins"?


Statue, painting - they are all 'imago'/'eikona': same as the human form is.Christ is God, therefore a statue intended to represent him is an idol. It has the same function as a pagan idol.


Not according to St. Augustine: he noted that Christianity is the most ancient religion, paganism being the loss of that original Tradition.And I agree with him (whether or not you do). You misunderstood my statement; I was talking about going further back in Scottish history.


Again, that is isogesis - it is referring to the worship of the created rather than the Creator. The question that needs answered is: is Jesus Christ corruptible? Are his Saints corruptible? No - they are glorified (that, and if you separate between the Divinity and the Humanity, that ceases to be orthodox and becomes Nestorian.)Man in his sinful state is corruptible, and so is the whole earthly creation. To represent the holy, almighty and incorruptible creator (whose glory is beyond our comprehension) as an earthly, created thing is blasphemous.


That's isogesis - It is isogesis to you, because you've already read your opinion into the text ;)


the text says they were worshipping the Golden Calf, not that they thought the Golden Calf was a representation of YHWH.What sort of explicit wording does the Bible need in order to make it clear to you? The God who brought them up out of Egypt was Jehovah, they and the surrounding nations knew it well.


In any case - we still have the 'graven images' of the angels on the Mercy Seat following that incident (and the angels woven on the Tabernacle itself.) The people most definitely bowed down before the Mercy Seat.The people did not worship God through the Mercy seat or the angels.


I'm not joking - local history in the East is unanimous in St. Luke having been the first iconographer. At least three of his works survive, though having layers of 'maintenance' paint on top of the original. One is still at St. Catherine's in Sinai, another exists in Russia, the third I believe might be on Mt. Athos ... or somewhere here in the West. Skepticism to simply discount because one does *not* want to believe is not logical.Well firstly I'm not sure what the nature of this "iconography" is, and secondly I have simply no reason to believe Luke was responsible. All sorts of traditions exist about relics of saints, and they are very difficult to verify. They were a favourite of the Mediaeval Roman church.

Rhydderch
Thursday, January 5th, 2006, 03:17 AM
Simply this: that Presbyterianism is no more a perfect system than Episcopalianism and Catholicism are. Presbyterianism is just as (and often more) guilty of idiosyncracy with its interpretation of the Scriptures.I don’t judge objective truth by majority vote. If the majority hold to a heresy then that’s the way it is. The scripture is clear enough to those who do not wish to twist its meaning to suit their worldly ways.

Having said that, no system can safeguard against heresy (the history of the Presbyterian church, particularly later on, is abundant proof of that). A church will only succeed with the blessing of God.


That their spiritual welfare improved any is highly debatable. In this case, how about the words of the Battlefield Band song "The Yew Tree" by Brian McNeill :


"Did you no' think tae tell when John Knox himsel'

Preached under your branches sae black

To the poor common folk who would lift up the yoke

O' the bishops and priests frae their backs

But you knew the bargain he sold them

And freedom was only one part

For the price o' their souls was a gospel sae cold

It would freeze up the joy in their hearts"

True enough - and losing one's joy is tantamount to losing spiritual welfare.Quite true, but it's a straw man argument I'm afraid, one frequently levelled at Calvinists.

Once again, what it basically boils down to is that a bad man loves his sin, and when deprived of it, of course he'll be unhappy. That is, unless he gets rid of it through Christ; in which case he's a "new man" who no longer loves his sin.

John Knox's gospel therefore brought true, lasting joy to thousands, and of course, eternal joy, as opposed to the fleeting joy of sin.

Calvin’s opponents like to portray him as a cold, sour man who couldn’t stand happiness. My impression of him, based on his writings, is that he seems to have been, if anything, an exceptionally kind, warm-hearted man, perhaps more so than other reformers and later theologians. It’s difficult to fathom why he has been singled out more than the rest for such a portrayal.

And as for his doctrine of ‘election’, this was the same as that clarified by Augustine of Hippo (and stated by the Bible of course), for which reason this doctrine is often known as “Augustinian” as opposed to Pelagian, which is actually closer to what the Roman Church teaches.


So - the Presbyterians turn around and made their own killing times, clearances, proscription and penal laws.Well, so far you haven’t shown me any evidence for that.


And not a few see it as quite the opposite.I’m sure they do.


Anti-Presbyterian? More like against its polemic against other systems.No, your consistent statements and attitude makes it clear to me that you’ve read the history from an anti-Presbyterian perspective, not an objective one. Probably you’ll say it’s the other way round, but clearly we’re not both right, otherwise we’d be in agreement.


Where Presbyterianism is based on positive statements about what it believes - fine. Where it is based on negative statements about what it isn't (particularly polemic against Catholics, Orthodox, Episcopalians and Anglicans, Methodists, Quakers, etc.) then sure I have an issue with it - same as I do with any religion that behaves the same.So should we just sit down and pretend we all agree? And Presbyterianism is indeed based on positive statements about what it believes; but it must clarify on what grounds it holds to those statements.


And, as for heresy - that is from a historically objective pov a given - Presbyterianism doesn't look or sound like anything Christianity had previously, and heresy coming from the Greek for 'choosing for oneself', that only follows... I'd have to say, if I was going to be one of the three, it would definitely not be Presbyterian.It has doctrines which were not accepted by the mainstream for centuries through the Mediaeval period. But throughout that time, there were men who protested against these unbiblical mainstream doctrines; and surely you can see that the mainstream “Protestant” church today holds to unbiblical doctrines, so being mainstream is not a sign of being correct.


Presbyterian church government is extreme, as is Congregationalism, or Pietism - they're just steps on the ladder of Individualism (Presbyterianism still holding to an elite.) The Episcopalian system of Church government is world's away from the Roman Catholic system, with its magisterium, etc. - Papal and Episcopalian are quite different. I would say the Episcopalian form of Church government is far more like the Orthodox than the Catholic.It has, in my opinion, a number of unbiblical features in common with Roman Catholicism.


Sure, but that is also isogesis - since they don't distinguish between presvyteros and episcopos (despite the terms appearing in the Pauline Epistles to Timothy in the same verses, as a distinction) they conflate the two - every Presbyter behaves as a Bishop, and the 'Manse' becomes the Synod of Bishops.Take a look at Acts 20. Verse seventeen says:

“And from Miletus he (Paul) sent to Ephesus, and called the elders (presbyteros).
And when they were come to him, he said unto them,……. “

In verse 28 he is still speaking to them, and he says:

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers (episkopos), to feed the church of God, which he has purchased with his own blood.”

Clearly the Apostle Paul is making no distinction between the two, and the Bible never says that an episkopos should have intrinsic authority over other ministers by virtue of his position.


Two things - one, the cause is honorable, the execution horrible. The produced little to nothing like the Apostolic doctrine.In your theological opinion.


(And, the idea of a 'Dark Age' is no longer an accepted academic view of European history - it belongs purely in the realm of religion polemic, specifically anti-Catholic.)Modern “academic opinion” is, by and large, anti-Christian, and anti-Christians attack Protestants before they’ll attack Roman Catholics, because they know the foundation of the former is a lot closer to Christian truth; indeed they’ll support the latter in order to overthrow Protestants. The “Dark Ages” is no anti-Catholic invention, as any decent comparison of historical periods will show. After the turmoil of the collapse of the Roman Empire, Europe declined and then stagnated, in my opinion largely due to the spiritual bondage with which the Roman church gripped it. But whether or not one agrees on the reason, there is certainly no doubt that Europe fell into a Dark Age. Standard of living, for example, was far lower in Mediaeval than in Roman times.


Secondly, the idea that common men were forbidden to read Scripture is a Protestant polemic, again - not necessarily the case historically.It was probably only forbidden when someone made a fuss over getting it available for common men, especially if they based a protestation against the church on scriptural grounds. At any rate there were definitely times when it was forbidden.


I think Prof. Eamonn Duffy of Cambridge U., "Stripping the Altars" is a clear record of the state of lay religion in Britain on the eve of the Reformation: hardly a state of theological and Scriptural ignorance.Indeed the Reformation only came about because more men began to search the scriptures.


See - there is that little problem again. Why start putting out that sort of nonsense? You don't want 'ridiculous rumors' spread about your Church, but have no qualms doing it to others?Well, again it’s a matter of whose got it right here. The only reason I object to these rumours about the Presbyterian church is that they’re untrue ;)


More isogesis that is not 'apparent' from the text itself, nor found in the Christian tradition before Calvin. If the moral law was not revoked - then why does Jesus Christ himself (nor his Apostles) repeat the Sabbath obligation of the Mosaic law?If most of the Mosaic law was not revoked, then why would they mention it. What they do mention as being revoked is the ceremonial law, so it follows that what they don’t mention therefore stays in place.

Besides, even the Roman church has always claimed to promote the moral laws of Moses, at least in theory.


(Rhetorical question) IOW, you have a good explanation for within Calvinism for clique maintenance, but it doesn't sell outside Calvinism: to the rest of us, it is simply what the Apostles of Acts 15 were warning against.That is a warning against the promotion of the burdensome, and by then unnecessary ceremonial laws.


But not the Truth of Christ, who called us to moderation.Oh yes, and the Christ who called us to ‘tolerate’ sodomites, murderers, ‘minorities’ etc. ect. I’ve heard this argument before.

The moderation preached by Christ is not the same as what the world calls moderation. Worldly men claimed that the Apostles were turning the world upside down, and it’s the same with the wordly men who dominate the church.

The Bible makes it pretty clear that the Truth of Christ is extremism to the world, ever since man first sinned it has been that way.

Now for every truth there are infinite falsehoods, so extremism isn’t a sign of having found the truth. There is plenty of room for extremism based on falsehood.

In reality though, Christ’s truth is simple, nothing like the elaborate inventions of the Roman church with its complicated interpretation of the Bible.


Here is a little bit more from the Battlefield Band:Are you in favour of licentious ballads? As for non-licentious ballads, they certainly didn’t disappear with the Reformation, and in fact, the former didn’t completely either. Immorality declined after the Reformation, but you’re underestimating the power of God if you think that could only happen through the force of those in power. There are numerous examples of whole villages once infamous as dens of drunkenness, violence and all sorts of immorality being transformed by religious revivals. The fact of the matter is that the inhabitants simply no longer wanted that sinful life, and forsook it without regret. And to put it very mildly, they were a lot happier for that.

And of course Brian McNeill song is just another anti-Protestant polemic, exactly the same bigotry you accuse Presbyterians of.

Vestmannr
Friday, January 6th, 2006, 01:36 PM
It doesn't work too badly if a godly man is on top, but the problem is it lends itself to heretical ideas being enforced, far more so than does the Presbyterian system.

That simply shows a misunderstanding about how Catholicism worked at that point in history. One cannot read back the decrees of Vatican I in 1870 back upon the 16th-17th c. In fact, during the period of the Reformation the opinions of the Gallicans were still allowable in the Catholic Church (not just the extreme political Gallicanism, but the more orthodox Conciliar Gallicanism.) The problem with that polemical bit there is that it is comparing the Presbyterian system to a system that did not exist at the time Presbyterianism was established!


but for those who are aiming for power and wealth, the Episcopalian system is a lot more suitable, and there would have been no use pulling out of it.

That statement is both hypothetical and subjective - one should note, however, those who followed the Presbyterians were indeed the ones rewarded with the power and wealth.


But breaking the moral law is a different matter, in which case the elders/ministers have the power of excommunication.

And execution - the numbers of so called 'witches' (which weren't pagans, but Christians) executed in Scotland were during the period of Presbyterian control. The problem being in such a case, what Calvinism defined as 'moral law' (such as 'Sabbath breaking' - which happens to be the same cause the Jews had for crucifying the Lord.)


Edit: The point I'm making is that John Knox and the founders and defenders of the Presbyterian church clearly weren't in it for wealth and power. That is not the base on which it was founded.

Yet, we can see that motivation quite clearly in the origins and execution of the Scottish Reformation (in fact, every Reformation.) From an objective standpoint, I can't by the idea of 'immaculate Presbyterians' vs. 'evil Catholics' and 'wicked Episcopalians'.


But that's not to say selfish and greedy men were never in that church.

The issue I'm seeing here is trying to separate the misdeeds of Presbyterians from Presbyterianism, while attributing the sins of Catholics and Episcopalians to Catholicism and Episcopalianism. That is a double standard.


Entirely different to hunting down, torturing and killing men who would not recant their beliefs. The restrictions there were also over concerns about Episcopalian loyalty following the Jacobite uprising.

I'll reiterate - that is specifically what happened post-1688, in Edinburgh (Canongate) no less to Episcopalians by the Presbyterians of St. Giles Cathedral. Torture and execution for Episcopalian laity hunted down, and imprisonment and exile to the Carolinas or Virginia for the Episcopalian clergy discovered.


He's another example of someone murdered by a mob, not executed by a Presbyterian government.

Yes, a mob of Presbyterians led by an instigator - the later terms being 'Congregation' and 'Elder'. ;)


Absolutely not. In fact the Presbyterians were notable in their opposition to Charles' execution.

Some were, some were notably for it - in fact, his execution was done entirely at the behest of English and Scottish Presbyterians. The quotes you list simply illustrate the complexity of the time, and should not be used as proof-texts that somehow Charles' blood is not on Calvinist hands (after all, who was it that executed him? Muslims maybe? Maybe it was the Pope? Red Indians? No - we know better. ;) ) Remember, it was the Scottish Presbyterian army at Newark that delivered Charles I up to his executors. So - not Pontius Pilate, but definitely Judas and possibly Caiaphas.


Besides, Charles was not put to death for Episcopalianism, but for High Treason.

Semantics - it was, after all, Episcopalianism (and a Catholic form of the same) that he did die for. He isn't known as Charles King the Martyr in Anglican and Episcopalian prayer books for anything otherwise.


Nothing to do with Episcopalianism.

Everything to do with Episcopalianism - the purges of 1688-89 were just so (and the reason many Scottish Episcopalian clergy ended up in Virginia, and what would shortly become North and South Carolina.)


We're not talking about Hanoverians versus Jacobites, by the way.

As for the Highland Clearances, that affected Presbyterians as much as anyone else, indeed in later times they would have been affected more than anybody.

Yet, at that point in time the Hanoverians enjoyed the greater support of Presbyterians (which is why only Presbyterians celebrate the Battle of the Boyne). Also, you must note there were two periods of Highland Clearances - the one that lead to a large Scottish-American population was mostly of non-Presbyterian Highlanders (Catholic and Episcopalian) and in fact listed as reasons for migration to America quite often the fact of religious persecution by the Kirk as often as economic betterment.


It could not be superstition if it was instituted by God and still valid today.

Any law is a yoke around the neck of a criminal.

It is if one is trying to make Gentiles (who were never given the Mosaic Law) keep it - which neither the Old or New Testament ever called for. Presbyterianism's Judaizing is an important issue, given that the Mosaic law never expected more out of the Gentile believers than what little is listed in the Covenant of Noah.


What evidence do you have for Presbyterians claiming to be the "righteous Chosen".

Years of Calvinist training - its called 'the Elect'.


Torture and execution were explicitly and officially carried out in the name of Roman Catholicism and Episcopalianism. Truth isn't subjective ;)

My point exactly - and the objective truth is that torture and execution were explicity and officially carried out in the name of Presbyterianism. (Not just to Catholics and Episcopalians, but Scottish Quakers, Methodists, etc.)


You're confusing physical with spiritual death. Necromancy is communicating (or attempting to) with those who are physically dead, just like the witch who supposedly communicated with the prophet Samuel.

No, as I'm not a Calvinist, I'm not confusing the two. The Resurrection is not a 'spiritual' resurrection, but a physical one - as Christ most explicitly promised.


The Bible makes no distinction between necromancy with souls in heaven and souls in hell.

The Scriptures don't speak at all about a concept of 'necromancy with souls in heaven' - especially with the incidence of Samuel (which isn't supposedly, in both the Septuagint and Masoretic texts, it says it was Samuel's spirit) - which at that time was in the Bosom of Abraham (the souls of the righteous Patriarchs and Prophets not yet being released from Hades til the Crucifixion and Resurrection.) If so, then the event of the Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor would have been another cause for the Sanhedrin to crucify Christ (he, while a man of Israel before his death and burial, communicated with the 'souls in heaven' Moses and Elijah.) The three Marys and the Apostles up to St. Thomas all spoke with Jesus Christ after his death and burial (and resurrection - quite physical, not just 'spiritual'.)


Edit: Besides, a logical conclusion from your argument would be that talking to unbelievers is necromancy. How can it not be necromancy if they are "dead in sins"?

Well, that would be 'a conclusion', but not logical. The difference is that I'm reading the Scriptures, and understanding the Incarnation and Resurrection as the Church has always believed: with no anti-physical Gnosticism to 'spiritualize' it into a metaphor. ;)


Christ is God, therefore a statue intended to represent him is an idol. It has the same function as a pagan idol.

No it doesn't - you are misunderstanding the idea of 'represent'. Icons are not 'representations' - not mere art. Your understanding is based on a late misunderstanding about the word 'symbolon' interpreted as 'symbol' - meaning something 'not real', a 'stand-in'. Rather, the Apostolic understanding of the images is that they are 'symbolon', that the prototype is present in that which is depicted, and that a symbol is not only real, but it is a revelation (making the prototype present.) It stems directly from true belief in the Incarnation and Resurrection, and that Christ is indeed 'with you always' in the Church.


And I agree with him (whether or not you do). You misunderstood my statement; I was talking about going further back in Scottish history.

I agree with him more than you do! :P I understood your statement - it simply doesn't apply. The first Christianity in Scotland was catholic, orthodox - not Calvinist. Using an analogy of paganism (which at some point was 'new') or Primitivism as an argument against the Sacred Tradition is again, a logical fallacy.


Man in his sinful state is corruptible, and so is the whole earthly creation. To represent the holy, almighty and incorruptible creator (whose glory is beyond our comprehension) as an earthly, created thing is blasphemous.

Only to a Gnostic would it be blasphemous. The reality is that Christ became Man, took on flesh ('flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone' according to Scriptures) - the Incarnation means that the Creator is with us: we see him. If cameras had been invented in those days, one could have taken a picture of Christ. If not, then Gnosticism is true, and Christianity false. The importance of the Incarnation is that what is beyond all sense becomes concretely and earthly experienced.


What sort of explicit wording does the Bible need in order to make it clear to you? The God who brought them up out of Egypt was Jehovah, they and the surrounding nations knew it well.

The sin was in turning back to false gods. The idea of 'explicit wording' is what allows the fault of isogesis (I can't do isogesis myself, as I don't believe in private interpretation, soul competence - which produces heresy and the very real sectarian fragmentation.) The consensus of Christianity has been that the sin was the Golden Calf being a false god, not that it was a 'representation of Jehovah'.


The people did not worship God through the Mercy seat or the angels.

The High Priest offered the offering on the Mercy Seat, and the Presence of God descended and 'sat' upon that Mercy Seat, whereupon the Congregation prostrated themselves to it and the Tabernacle it contained. The presence of God on the Ark of the Covenant, and the physical/liturgical acts of veneration are exactly the same as the Christian physical/liturgical acts of veneration practiced by the Church in its earliest centuries, and confirmed in the 7th Ecumenical Council.


Well firstly I'm not sure what the nature of this "iconography" is, and secondly I have simply no reason to believe Luke was responsible. All sorts of traditions exist about relics of saints, and they are very difficult to verify. They were a favourite of the Mediaeval Roman church.

Yes - which shows how much of the argument then is simply Romaphobia - it becomes bad because 'Rome did something like that', and anything Rome touches or approximates has 'cooties'. The iconography, again, is something that exists externally to the Roman Catholic (or Medieval Roman church) - both by Eastern Orthodox (Greek and Russian) Christianity, and Oriental Orthodox (Syrian) Christianity. The documentation concerning St. Luke's origin with the various icons is of the same veracity as that concerning his authorship of the Gospel bearing his name, or of compiling the 'Liturgy of the Twelve Apostles' (also a Lukan work.)

Vestmannr
Friday, January 6th, 2006, 03:19 PM
I don’t judge objective truth by majority vote. If the majority hold to a heresy then that’s the way it is. The scripture is clear enough to those who do not wish to twist its meaning to suit their worldly ways.

I don't hold that objective truth is determined by majority vote either - nor do Episcopalians or Roman Catholics. However, the nature of Protestant interpretation of Scripture is such that exegesis is nearly impossible. Without the consensus of the Mind of the Church (being the preservation of the Faith and Church by the Holy Spirit) isogesis is all one is left with. Calvin, at least, pretended (or called for) that guiding by the consensus with his endorsement of Patristics (the Church Fathers), and the call "ad fontes" (he, and his followers, only having their isogetic opinions to guide them to what the 'fontes' were, and how to understand them.) From my own objective pov, Presbyterianism fails most horribly in comparison to most other sects of Christianity for its interpreting Scripture to fit its own wants.


Having said that, no system can safeguard against heresy (the history of the Presbyterian church, particularly later on, is abundant proof of that). A church will only succeed with the blessing of God.

If that is so - then the success of Islam is the blessing of God. Roman Catholicism is now the largest Christian body (1 Billion) - the evidence of God's favour? The Orthodox come only second to them. How about the growing Pentecostalism - Indigenous 3rd World Christianities: God's new preferred churches? Both groups by themselves far outnumber the Presbyterians and their Calvinist relatives (Reformed, Congregational, United, Restorationist.) Even Sunni (or Shiite) by themselves have been more successful than Presbyterianism - as have been the two largest branches of Buddhism and Hinduism as well! (And consider how much more that would be true if limited only to the Presbyterians that your own denomination would consider not heretical.)


Quite true, but it's a straw man argument I'm afraid, one frequently levelled at Calvinists.

No - that's not straw man. Straw man is creating a false construct to combat that is a misrepresentation of the intended target. In the case of the Battlefield Band song (and its very Scottish pov) - it is an observation based upon the fruits of the Kirk.


Once again, what it basically boils down to is that a bad man loves his sin, and when deprived of it, of course he'll be unhappy. ... John Knox's gospel therefore brought true, lasting joy to thousands, and of course, eternal joy, as opposed to the fleeting joy of sin.

However, no group of Christians which we have discussed in this argument have made excuses for sins (in fact, Catholicism and Episcopalianism were quite strict on the matter - no less strict on the most divisive sins, especially concerning sexuality, than the Presbyterians. In fact, they were often more strict: Presbyterianism allowing far more sexual freedom (at least for the men): if not in ideals, at least in praxis and outcomes.


Calvin’s opponents like to portray him as a cold, sour man who couldn’t stand happiness. My impression of him, based on his writings, is that he seems to have been, if anything, an exceptionally kind, warm-hearted man, perhaps more so than other reformers and later theologians. It’s difficult to fathom why he has been singled out more than the rest for such a portrayal.

You know, "if the shoe fits" - his contemporaries weren't impressed by him as being exceptionally kind, warm-hearted. And, compared to other Reformers - lets just say he was Calvin's true child. Finally - he hasn't been 'singled out' more than the rest for anything. That is simply oversensitivity. If any 'reformer' is singled out the most, it would be Martin Luther (whose followers are still closer to "ad fontes" than Calvin's). Secondly, would be Henry VIII in the English speaking world (and unfairly there, I might add - he didn't 'start a church to get divorces' as the polemics have it.) Probably what it is, is a normal reaction against the extremity of Calvinist polemic against other groups (which is especially self-absorbed, myopic when concerning its own faults, and has a habit of mischaracterization of other denominations: such as the Methodists.)


And as for his doctrine of ‘election’, this was the same as that clarified by Augustine of Hippo (and stated by the Bible of course), for which reason this doctrine is often known as “Augustinian” as opposed to Pelagian, which is actually closer to what the Roman Church teaches.

That is a misrepresentation. St. Augustine's speculations on the matter are not as fully developed as Luther, Calvin, or Knox. All are far more degrees to the extreme. Augustinian, in any case, is precisely the OFFICIAL teaching of the Roman Catholic Church (a fact which seems to escape many Protestants.) The Roman Church not only condemned Pelagianism, but 'Semi-Pelagian': the Reformed or Protestant churches are not more 'Augustinian' than Rome (impossible to be more Augustinian than Rome, especially after Trent!) However, that is just the mischaracterization I've pointed out the paragraph before: throwing about labels like 'Pelagian', 'Arminian' as smear terms... not as accurate descriptions. As with the Scriptures, that St. Augustine was not the only (or consensus) teaching on the matter is clear from reading all the Fathers. The imbalance of Reformation and Counter-Reformation is no doubt due to the over-emphasis on what were theological speculations on the part of St. Augustine (similar to the later emphasis of Thomas Aquinas over the earlier consensus of the Church.) (NOTE: 'consensus' not meaning a 'majority vote' of human origin, but the faithfulness to the Deposit of Faith.)


No, your consistent statements and attitude makes it clear to me that you’ve read the history from an anti-Presbyterian perspective, not an objective one. Probably you’ll say it’s the other way round, but clearly we’re not both right, otherwise we’d be in agreement.

No - I don't read history from an 'anti-Presbyterian' perspective. In fact, I started out quite the opposite. I was trained in logic, and can recognize propaganda and pathologies of communication (logical fallacies) when they are present. Your disagreement, in this case, is because you have partisan attachment: I don't.


So should we just sit down and pretend we all agree? And Presbyterianism is indeed based on positive statements about what it believes; but it must clarify on what grounds it holds to those statements.

I've read Calvin and Knox both - most of their writing is based upon negative statements about not being Roman Catholic or Protestant (Lutheran, 'Arminian', 'Pelagian', etc.) It would help if Presbyterians were Presbyterian for adherence to revealed truth solely, rather than as reaction against abuses in other Churches (which are in spite of those churches, not because of them.) If Presbyterians were consistent, they would have (and would now) no doubt protest against the Kirk for the same sins which its members and leaders have committed - if cause enough to separate from Rome, the Episcopalians, et al. Why not now?


It has doctrines which were not accepted by the mainstream for centuries through the Mediaeval period. But throughout that time, there were men who protested against these unbiblical mainstream doctrines; and surely you can see that the mainstream “Protestant” church today holds to unbiblical doctrines, so being mainstream is not a sign of being correct.

Yes, the word for 'not accepted by the mainstream' is heretic . A heretic being one who picks and chooses what he will believe based upon personal opinion, rather than from that passed down whole. 'Mainstream' includes the Church triumpant - our ancestors (the Church Fathers): the reason Calvinist ideas weren't part of the Mainstream from the birth of the Church until Calvin (and even then, have never been more than a minority amongst Christians) is because it was quite outside of what Christians have ever held (meaning, outside of what the Scriptures say.) The idea of 'unbiblical', in any case, is an innovation in itself (not something found in the Church Fathers - they approached Scripture in quite a different manner, as part of the Sacred Tradition, not a document to be approached with Enlightenment philosophy and irreverent parsing.) However, the idea that orthodoxy was contained at any period in history by being the majority, is quite a mistake - at several periods in history, the mainstream were not Orthodox (such as when the Arians, Iconoclasts, etc. held the majority.)


It has, in my opinion, a number of unbiblical features in common with Roman Catholicism.

Who cares? My point again - ask a Presbyterian for proof, and he lashes out at Rome. Heh.


Take a look at Acts 20. Verse seventeen says: “And from Miletus he (Paul) sent to Ephesus, and called the elders (presbyteros).... In verse 28 he is still speaking to them, and he says:

More isogesis - approaching the text as if it is a mathematical formula? Christianity in the 1st c. rejected that approach (Rabbinics/Pharasaism), instead being Eucharistic in theology. The problem is that the Church from the beginning neither considered all presbyteros to be episcopos, nor did it (nor does it) consider episcopos to be seperate from presbyteros. Every clergyman is still a member of the laity (the congregation), every presbyter still a deacon (diakonos - servant), every bishop still a presbyter/priest. And, every bishop is but a partaker in one office of episcopos - a college/synod.


Clearly the Apostle Paul is making no distinction between the two, and the Bible never says that an episkopos should have intrinsic authority over other ministers by virtue of his position.

Again, not 'clear' - it is only so for Presbyterians because of three factors:

1) They were mad at sinful bishops in the Roman Catholic Church.

2) They rebelled not only against those bishops, but the Church.

3) They rationalized their actions by a personal interpretation of Scripture.


In your theological opinion.

No, I'm not a Protestant, so I don't have 'theological opinion'. ;) You will know they are Christians by their love - Presbyterians and 'love' are not word associations anyone in history has likely made.


Modern “academic opinion” is, by and large, anti-Christian, and anti-Christians attack Protestants before they’ll attack Roman Catholics, because they know the foundation of the former is a lot closer to Christian truth; indeed they’ll support the latter in order to overthrow Protestants.

LOL - Anti-intellectualism, persecution complex: haven't you heard that anti-Catholicism is the 'last remaining acceptable prejudice' (along with hatred of 'Crackers', ie 'White Anglos')? Really, 'Modern "academic opinion"(sic) is nothing of the sort: very little of it is concerned with Presbyterianism, or Protestantism at all. The majority of mainline Protestants (especially Presbyterians) are tolerated for their 'enlightened opinions'. Rome is, however, especially singled out - and no wonder, they have the numbers! (I say that as a Christian and academic with several fundamental disagreements with Rome, based not upon abuses, but upon how faithful certain latter day developments in theology and praxis are faithful to the Sacred Tradition.)


The “Dark Ages” is no anti-Catholic invention, as any decent comparison of historical periods will show. After the turmoil of the collapse of the Roman Empire, Europe declined and then stagnated, in my opinion largely due to the spiritual bondage with which the Roman church gripped it. But whether or not one agrees on the reason, there is certainly no doubt that Europe fell into a Dark Age. Standard of living, for example, was far lower in Mediaeval than in Roman times.

Several points:

1. The 'Fall' of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire survived until the 1470s. The real 'Fall of the Roman Empire' (Constantinople) led to the spread of Roman learning across Europe, and directly birthed the Renaissance (as well as directly affecting what would become the Reformation.) Most of the Protestant Reformers had the initial reaction of reaching East when they first made their break with Rome (Luther, the Hussites, England - with Henry and Elizabeth, Tyndale, etc.)

2. The idea of a 'Dark Ages' is quite a late revision. The only period of loss of education/technology we can pinpoint is related to Barbarian invasion of non-Christian/non-Catholic peoples. Roman civilization survived in several areas, however (such as Normandy, SW and Northern England, etc.) However, the lot of most Europeans was far better under Medieval Catholicism than it had been under the Roman Empire. Most importantly was the lack of slavery - a Roman institution, unknown in Medieval Europe, and only reintroduced/continued by the Muslims. Ownership of property by all classes was of fundamental importance to understanding what life was like for the medieval European. As such, the 'Magna Carta' is not a document of innovation, but a document curtailing growing new abuses by a monarchy out of control - the appeal being to the accustomed freedom of Christendom.


It was probably only forbidden when someone made a fuss over getting it available for common men, especially if they based a protestation against the church on scriptural grounds. At any rate there were definitely times when it was forbidden.

The only thing that was forbidden were idiosyncratic translations - translations into the vernacular were not only occurring before the Reformation in the West, but with Rome's blessing. (The use of the vernacular in the East was still a given at that time.) The men who were prosecuted for illegal translation of Scriptures (including some of my ancestors) were prosecuted, not persecuted, not for the Scriptures being 'made available' - but for translations which were based upon the opinion of one or a few men. Medieval historians like Eamon Duffy have shown that the pre-Reformation laity had plenty of access to divine Scripture, an understanding of Latin, and where they could afford it: copies of the Scriptures and prayer books (which are in turn, nearly entirely Scripture assembled into an order for liturgical use.) The Reformation came about not because of some new availability of the Scriptures, or vernacular translations, but because of the spread of Enlightenment ideas and new versions of the Scripture bound with anti-Roman commentary or anti-Roman translations. That the Reformation went as it did had also plenty to do with national politics, and how they were mishandled by various Popes and Princes (as well as the Reformers.)


Well, again it’s a matter of whose got it right here. The only reason I object to these rumours about the Presbyterian church is that they’re untrue ;)

Except we aren't talking about rumours in this case - we're talking about the fact that the Presbyterian blood dished out what it got. To say otherwise is sheer revisionism.


If most of the Mosaic law was not revoked, then why would they mention it. What they do mention as being revoked is the ceremonial law, so it follows that what they don’t mention therefore stays in place.

And again, you have it wrong - the Mosaic law was never for the Gentiles (such as the Scots) at all. Especially not so when they entered the Church, after the Council of Acts 15.


Besides, even the Roman church has always claimed to promote the moral laws of Moses, at least in theory.

No, not really. Rather, reading the Roman catechism and papal encyclicals, it is the fact that the Mosaic law was never placed upon the Gentiles in the Church. Those who did so were Judaizers - and that, quite early on. That morality was maintained - yes, however Presbyterianism has advanced much more of the Mosaic law than merely 'moral laws'. Much more than Roman Catholicism required. I will note, that the Catholics also avoided the other extreme of Marcion as well: avoiding both Scylla and Charybdis. The Roman Catholic Church shares that position with the Eastern Orthodox Catholics (Greek-Romanian-Caucasian-Arabic-Slavic), and Oriental Orthodox Catholics (Aramaic-Coptic-Ethiopian-Armenian-Indian).

And, to echo your sentiment: Presbyterians have also promoted morality 'in theory'. The actual praxis has been far more disappointing. If it had been otherwise, possibly more would have been converted...


That is a warning against the promotion of the burdensome, and by then unnecessary ceremonial laws.

The Council did not specify 'ceremonial laws': it rather stated it was against those who would lay circumcision 'and the whole law of Moses' upon the Gentile Church, and specified 'we require no more than this'...'abstain from blood, fornication, and things offered to idols'. Three requirements - 'blood' being a reference to the colloquial term for violence (murder, extortion), fornication being sexual immorality, and 'things offered to idols' to partaking in the pagan Civil religion and services of the pagans.


Oh yes, and the Christ who called us to ‘tolerate’ sodomites, murderers, ‘minorities’ etc. ect. I’ve heard this argument before.

Ah - back to an old point. This is 'straw man argument' - I say 'moderation', you accuse of 'liberal'. So - no, you haven't heard this argument before. You simply can't argue with it (because it is a New Testament commandment, 'all things in moderation') - so, call evil good, and try to transfer the guilt of the evil onto the good.


The Bible makes it pretty clear that the Truth of Christ is extremism to the world, ever since man first sinned it has been that way.

That's a misquote. Not 'extremism', but 'foolishness'.


Now for every truth there are infinite falsehoods, so extremism isn’t a sign of having found the truth. There is plenty of room for extremism based on falsehood.

Which is just semantic squirming - Jesus Christ and the Apostles were not seen as extreme, did not preach nor practice extremism. And yes, extremism is a sign of falsehood - extremism being the outcome of giving oneself over to one's passions, being ruled by the belly. Extremism is sin.


In reality though, Christ’s truth is simple, nothing like the elaborate inventions of the Roman church with its complicated interpretation of the Bible.

Instead we have the complicated personal philosophical interpretations of the Presbyterians and their elaborate system, and its self-definition of being the opposite of whatever Rome is (as they understand Rome.)


Are you in favour of licentious ballads? As for non-licentious ballads, they certainly didn’t disappear with the Reformation, and in fact, the former didn’t completely either. Immorality declined after the Reformation, but you’re underestimating the power of God if you think that could only happen through the force of those in power. There are numerous examples of whole villages once infamous as dens of drunkenness, violence and all sorts of immorality being transformed by religious revivals. The fact of the matter is that the inhabitants simply no longer wanted that sinful life, and forsook it without regret. And to put it very mildly, they were a lot happier for that.

It wasn't just 'licentious ballads', but most of Scottish culture that made Scotland Scotland. Immorality did most certainly not decline after the Reformation. Sins were simply exchanged for others. With 'religious revivals' we move out of the mainstream of Presbyterianism, and into the origins of other Protestant movements which the Presbyterian mainstream eventually rejected. Moralism may look moral, but it isn't - it becomes an idol, leads to self-righteousness, and is a distortion of morality.


And of course Brian McNeill song is just another anti-Protestant polemic, exactly the same bigotry you accuse Presbyterians of.

Actually, it isn't a polemic - it is part of Scottish culture. Which brings us back around to the original point. Scottish Presbyterianism cannot be the exclusive Scottish Church because:

1) It is a rejection of most of Scottish history and culture.

2) Scotland has never been unanimously Presbyterian, and never will be.

3) Presbyterian claims to Scotland can only be with parallel claims (complimentary we hope) by Scottish Catholics, Scottish Episcopalians, Scottish Methodists, Scottish Quakers, and other traditional Scottish churches.

And possibly a fourth point:

4) Presbyterianism became the enemy it hated by embracing the original error that led to the multiplicity of errors it abhorred: the wielding of political power by the Church.

At least we can say of the Episcopalians, one could be a member of that Church and hold entirely to the the Presbyterian theology (with the exception of rebellion/hatred against episcopos), with the comprehensiveness that one could also be a member and hold to the Catholic theology (without late medieval Roman errors and Papacy.)

So - Presbyterian first, Scottish incidentally (and only casually.)

Rhydderch
Sunday, January 8th, 2006, 10:58 PM
That simply shows a misunderstanding about how Catholicism worked at that point in history. One cannot read back the decrees of Vatican I in 1870 back upon the 16th-17th c. In fact, during the period of the Reformation the opinions of the Gallicans were still allowable in the Catholic Church (not just the extreme political Gallicanism, but the more orthodox Conciliar Gallicanism.) The problem with that polemical bit there is that it is comparing the Presbyterian system to a system that did not exist at the time Presbyterianism was established!The reality of the church is that throughout the period of Roman bondage, there was a clear obligation to obey higher members of the hierarchy. Whether or not this was an officialized heresy made by decrees is a different matter.


And execution - the numbers of so called 'witches' (which weren't pagans, but Christians) executed in Scotland were during the period of Presbyterian control.Execution of so-called witches was commonplace in Roman Catholic dominated Mediaeval times, in fact far more so than after the Reformation. But I’m talking about the power of elders and ministers, not about what happened while Presbyterianism was supported by the state.


The problem being in such a case, what Calvinism defined as 'moral law' (such as 'Sabbath breaking' - which happens to be the same cause the Jews had for crucifying the Lord.)The Jews crucified Christ primarily because he claimed to be God, which they said was blasphemy, and that would have been so if Christ’s claim was false.

The history of the Jewish church in ancient Israel closely parallels that of the Christian church after Christ. In both cases, there were periods of severe persecution by the pagan state, then a period of success when it became tolerated and even supported by the state, and subsequently the mainstream degenerated, and, whilst maintaining nominal adherence to the doctrines of the old persecuted believers and prophets, they began to claim that those true believers waiting for and accepting Christ as the Messiah were responsible for an innovation. But really the former were men who had gradually accumulated worldly traditions; I’m sure they could have accused the believers of ‘isogesis’ because they wouldn’t accept the mainstream traditions of interpreting the prophets.


From an objective standpoint, I can't by the idea of 'immaculate Presbyterians' vs. 'evil Catholics' and 'wicked Episcopalians'.George Whitefield is a great Episcopalian who comes to mind. I believe he was mistaken in his ideas of church government, but he was a good, godly man nonetheless. Many good men among the Reformers were bishops too.


The issue I'm seeing here is trying to separate the misdeeds of Presbyterians from Presbyterianism, while attributing the sins of Catholics and Episcopalians to Catholicism and Episcopalianism. That is a double standard.You’re constantly begging the question. If I’m wrong, then of course it’s double standards, but that’s the whole idea of our discussion, to see who’s right. Is it double standards for a judge to punish one prosecuted man for theft, and to acquit another? If he’s right, then of course not.

But I'm merely stating that Episcopalians and Catholics were responsible for severe persecutions, not the Presbyterians. However, it would not necessarily follow that this is due to something inherent in their system. But a system which propagates its ideas by pressurization from a hierarchy rather than Christian persuasion, is definitely one which inherently lends itself far more to arrogance and forcing people into agreement when it may not be something they heartily accept.

So I'm not attributing their sins entirely to their denominations, but that their system does lend itself more to exploitation by ambitious men, and the establishment of their heretical ideas as a tradition which people are reluctant to break.


I'll reiterate - that is specifically what happened post-1688, in Edinburgh (Canongate) no less to Episcopalians by the Presbyterians of St. Giles Cathedral. Torture and execution for Episcopalian laity hunted down, and imprisonment and exile to the Carolinas or Virginia for the Episcopalian clergy discovered.I wasn’t asking you to give me examples of men who were persecuted for opposition to the Glorious Revolution.


Some were, some were notably for it - in fact, his execution was done entirely at the behest of English and Scottish Presbyterians. The quotes you list simply illustrate the complexity of the time, and should not be used as proof-texts that somehow Charles' blood is not on Calvinist hands (after all, who was it that executed him? Muslims maybe? Maybe it was the Pope? Red Indians? No - we know better. ) Remember, it was the Scottish Presbyterian army at Newark that delivered Charles I up to his executors.Calvinists yes, but not Presbyterians, and by the way I never said I agree with the Presbyterians’ opposition to it. I’m actually not quite sure whether it was legitimate, but I certainly wouldn’t say it’s definitely wrong. I think that the Scottish Presbyterians were sometimes too inclined to reverence the king so much that they tended to put him above the law; as far as I know, they weren’t arguing that he wasn’t guilty of High Treason, or that High Treason per se didn’t deserve the death penalty.


So - not Pontius Pilate, but definitely Judas and possibly Caiaphas.Delivering someone over to another army isn’t the same as plotting his death.


Semantics - it was, after all, Episcopalianism (and a Catholic form of the same) that he did die for. He isn't known as Charles King the Martyr in Anglican and Episcopalian prayer books for anything otherwise.Begging the question. Anyway, do you think a recantation of Episcopalianism would have saved his life?


Everything to do with Episcopalianism - the purges of 1688-89 were just so (and the reason many Scottish Episcopalian clergy ended up in Virginia, and what would shortly become North and South Carolina.)The fact is, many Episcopalians and Roman Catholics insisted on supporting the dynasty which they knew would support their cause, even if by execution and torture. Obviously Jacobites weren’t favourites of the new establishment.


Yet, at that point in time the Hanoverians enjoyed the greater support of PresbyteriansAnd for obvious reasons. They wouldn’t be persecuted.


(which is why only Presbyterians celebrate the Battle of the Boyne). Also, you must note there were two periods of Highland Clearances - the one that lead to a large Scottish-American population was mostly of non-Presbyterian Highlanders (Catholic and Episcopalian) and in fact listed as reasons for migration to America quite often the fact of religious persecution by the Kirk as often as economic betterment.I asked you to give me examples of men who were killed and tortured specifically for their Episcopalianism.


It is if one is trying to make Gentiles (who were never given the Mosaic Law) keep it - which neither the Old or New Testament ever called for. Presbyterianism's Judaizing is an important issue, given that the Mosaic law never expected more out of the Gentile believers than what little is listed in the Covenant of Noah.Apparently you’re accusing God of double standards. Are Jews human beings or not? Why would one set of laws be suited to them and another suited to us?

The fact is, Gentiles in Old Testament times who wanted to worship the true God were also required to observe even the ceremonial law, and it was almost certainly given to Adam and Noah. In fact, in many pagan religions of the world, there appear to be remnants of it.

It’s not a case of God giving different laws to Jews, it’s that there is a difference between Pre-Messianic and post-Messianic times. Christ being fully revealed now through scripture, the analogies which the ceremonial law created are no longer necessary.

The Roman church is actually much more Judaizing, with it’s “commanding to abstain from meats” and all sorts of other regulations.


Years of Calvinist training - its called 'the Elect'.Your “years of Calvinist training” apparently haven’t impressed on you the fact that the idea of an elite “Righteous Chosen” is in fact a completely unbiblical doctrine never taught by Calvin. What Calvin taught is in fact a reason for great humility, unlike the emphasis on ‘good works’ which is practiced by the Roman church; that church effectively teaches we’re naturally capable of being good enough to get to heaven.

Calvinism, by contrast, teaches that man is utterly incapable of bettering himself, and that believers will only get to heaven through God’s mercy, not their own good works. Clearly then, believers have no cause for pride in having been chosen by God as an object of his mercy (and not for the merits of the chosen), as God has opened their eyes to the hopelessness of their state without Christ, who God sent to suffer in the place of ‘as many as God has given him’. Unbelievers though, are blinded and simply don’t see themselves as hopelessly lost without Christ, and never will unless God opens their eyes.


My point exactly - and the objective truth is that torture and execution were explicity and officially carried out in the name of Presbyterianism. (Not just to Catholics and Episcopalians, but Scottish Quakers, Methodists, etc.)Well, you haven’t shown me any evidence for that.


The Scriptures don't speak at all about a concept of 'necromancy with souls in heaven' –That’s exactly my point. Attempting to communicate with departed souls is necromancy, whether souls of believers or not.


especially with the incidence of Samuel (which isn't supposedly, in both the Septuagint and Masoretic texts, it says it was Samuel's spirit) - which at that time was in the Bosom of Abraham (the souls of the righteous Patriarchs and Prophets not yet being released from Hades til the Crucifixion and Resurrection.) If so, then the event of the Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor would have been another cause for the Sanhedrin to crucify Christ (he, while a man of Israel before his death and burial, communicated with the 'souls in heaven' Moses and Elijah.) The three Marys and the Apostles up to St. Thomas all spoke with Jesus Christ after his death and burial (and resurrection - quite physical, not just 'spiritual'.)


Well, that would be 'a conclusion', but not logical. The difference is that I'm reading the Scriptures, and understanding the Incarnation and Resurrection as the Church has always believed: with no anti-physical Gnosticism to 'spiritualize' it into a metaphor.What on earth are you on about? Are you trying to say that believers take their bodies to heaven with them when they die?

Of course, all will be physically raised to life (i.e. soul and body reunited) on the judgement day, but until then, attempting to communicate with them is necromancy. It seems you’re now confusing future with present.


No it doesn't - you are misunderstanding the idea of 'represent'. Icons are not 'representations' - not mere art.Neither are pagan idols, according to those who use them in worship.


Your understanding is based on a late misunderstanding about the word 'symbolon' interpreted as 'symbol' - meaning something 'not real', a 'stand-in'. Rather, the Apostolic understanding of the images is that they are 'symbolon', that the prototype is present in that which is depicted, and that a symbol is not only real, but it is a revelation (making the prototype present.) It stems directly from true belief in the Incarnation and Resurrection, and that Christ is indeed 'with you always' in the Church.You said earlier that pagans speak of their idols as being ‘the god’. Now you seem to be saying this about Roman Catholic ‘icons’. What then is this fundamental difference between idols and icons?


I agree with him more than you do! I understood your statement - it simply doesn't apply. The first Christianity in Scotland was catholic, orthodox - not Calvinist.Wait---in your opinion, not mine. It was definitely not the same as Roman Catholicism, but my point is that whether or not something arrived in Scotland first is irrelevant to its legitimacy, that’s why I gave the example of paganism. It’s legitimacy depends on whether or not it’strue.


Only to a Gnostic would it be blasphemous. The reality is that Christ became Man, took on flesh ('flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone' according to Scriptures) - the Incarnation means that the Creator is with us: we see him. If cameras had been invented in those days, one could have taken a picture of Christ. If not, then Gnosticism is true, and Christianity false. The importance of the Incarnation is that what is beyond all sense becomes concretely and earthly experienced.Stop putting words in my mouth. Obviously Christ was physically present when he was on earth, and now he is physically present in heaven, not in earthly ‘icons’.

Christ was sinless, and when he died his flesh “did not see corruption”, therefore he is/was incorruptible, and an ‘icon’ is not a piece of his flesh, but a piece of the corruptible creation, cursed because of sin.


The sin was in turning back to false gods. The idea of 'explicit wording' is what allows the fault of isogesis (I can't do isogesis myself, as I don't believe in private interpretation, soul competence - which produces heresy and the very real sectarian fragmentation.) The consensus of Christianity has been that the sin was the Golden Calf being a false god, not that it was a 'representation of Jehovah'.You are a prime example of someone who submits his conscience to something else. Whether that is ‘Sacred Tradition’, a bishop or ‘Hallowed Time’ is anyone’s guess.

It would seem that common sense tells you their intent was to worship God through it. And yet you’re going to ignore that.

For sure, one has to be very thoughtful and careful before forming an interpretation which is not widely accepted. He must look at the passage in its proper context (and of the whole Bible, with the eye of faith), compare scripture with scripture, consult a wide variety of opinions (and of course, seek God’s guidance), and choose the one which makes sense. The Bible says to “search the scripture”, and God created man with an intellect, and so we should be able to reach our own conclusions; indeed God made the Bible with such a nature as to require us to search it, rather than Him stating things explicitly in one go. That’s not to say we should go and live in solitary confinement, with just a Bible; in that case, you could be isolating yourself from someone who has an interpretation which makes far better sense, and who can show you where you’ve got it wrong; but you have no obligation to accept his opinion if it doesn’t make sense. Even if lots of men hold it.

That’s why it can be very difficult for a man on his own who realises something is wrong with mainstream interpretation. He has no-one to correct him, so he can easily retain mistakes. For this reason many of the early Reformers had serious mistakes, indeed often in common with Rome, so it certainly wasn’t a case of rejecting something just because it was Roman.

And again, the Episcopal system places clergy under pressure to accept the viewpoint of a higher ranking man, and under pressure not to correct him, even if there has been no official decree that clergy are under a divine obligation to submit to their “superiors”.

What is it that you base your interpretation of scripture on? What does an interpretation have to undergo in order for you to accept it as correct? Apparently it’s majority vote, provided it has been Hallowed by Time. Please specify on what grounds you think the “concensus of Christianity” is infallible, and should override common sense.

Do you think that it’s impossible that a heretical idea could be accepted by the mainstream for a long time?


The High Priest offered the offering on the Mercy Seat, and the Presence of God descended and 'sat' upon that Mercy Seat, whereupon the Congregation prostrated themselves to it and the Tabernacle it contained. The presence of God on the Ark of the Covenant, and the physical/liturgical acts of veneration are exactly the same as the Christian physical/liturgical acts of veneration practiced by the Church in its earliest centuries, and confirmed in the 7th Ecumenical Council.They prostrated themselves in reverence to the presence of God, not in the Seat, but on it. The seat was not an ‘icon’ of God. The whole procedure was analogous to men bowing down to a king on his throne.

But even so, it was clearly a part of the ceremonial law, and to put a seat in a church in order to bow down to the presence of God on it would simply be Judaizing. Christ is clearly revealed now so such analogous rituals are not necessary; it would be the same as re-instituting circumcision or any other symbolic rite.

In those days, God communicated with his people much more directly, because scripture was not complete. So lots of things which were specifically commanded at particular times then, are not commands to everyone throughout history. For example, I'm sure you wouldn't claim that God's command to Israel to exterminate the Canaanites is an excuse for us to exterminate un-Christian nation.


Yes - which shows how much of the argument then is simply Romaphobia - it becomes bad because 'Rome did something like that', and anything Rome touches or approximates has 'cooties'.Again you’re putting words in my mouth. I didn’t say I reject it because it’s a favourite of the Mediaeval Roman church. Rather, what I’m saying is that that church has a history of making unsubstantiated and unverifiable claims, many of which have been proven false; therefore I take its claims with a grain of salt, without necessarily rejecting them outright.


The iconography, again, is something that exists externally to the Roman Catholic (or Medieval Roman church) - both by Eastern Orthodox (Greek and Russian) Christianity, and Oriental Orthodox (Syrian) Christianity. The documentation concerning St. Luke's origin with the various icons is of the same veracity as that concerning his authorship of the Gospel bearing his name, or of compiling the 'Liturgy of the Twelve Apostles' (also a Lukan work.)As I said, I’m not sure of the nature of this supposed work of Luke. What I do know is that Luke was a Godly man, inspired to write part of the Bible, and would not have committed Roman style idolatry.

As for his Gospel, the God-inspired nature of this is clear to someone who has been given the faith to see it, and through its harmony with the rest of the inspired Word, although even unbelievers can often see that there is something different, in essence, about the Bible which differentiates it from any other book; it is not illogical without faith, but without it, the pieces will never fully fall into place to make a harmonious whole.

Since Luke’s place in the Bible basically defines who he is as far as we’re concerned, then his authorship of other works is far less certain.

Rhydderch
Wednesday, January 11th, 2006, 11:36 AM
I don't hold that objective truth is determined by majority vote either - nor do Episcopalians or Roman Catholics. However, the nature of Protestant interpretation of Scripture is such that exegesis is nearly impossible.Other way round. The Roman church has centuries of Tradition which people are not willing to question. It seems you regard these traditions to be as infallible as the scripture, and you are therefore reading that interpretation into every passage.


Without the consensus of the Mind of the Church (being the preservation of the Faith and Church by the Holy Spirit) isogesis is all one is left with. Calvin, at least, pretended (or called for) that guiding by the consensus with his endorsement of Patristics (the Church Fathers), and the call "ad fontes" (he, and his followers, only having their isogetic opinions to guide them to what the 'fontes' were, and how to understand them.) From my own objective pov, Presbyterianism fails most horribly in comparison to most other sects of Christianity for its interpreting Scripture to fit its own wants.By all means, early or long-held interpretations of the Bible are not to be disregarded, but they are not to be considered infallible; they should be scrutinized.


If that is so - then the success of Islam is the blessing of God. Roman Catholicism is now the largest Christian body (1 Billion) - the evidence of God's favour? The Orthodox come only second to them. How about the growing Pentecostalism - Indigenous 3rd World Christianities: God's new preferred churches? Both groups by themselves far outnumber the Presbyterians and their Calvinist relatives (Reformed, Congregational, United, Restorationist.) Even Sunni (or Shiite) by themselves have been more successful than Presbyterianism - as have been the two largest branches of Buddhism and Hinduism as well!That would be valid, provided I’m defining success in terms of numbers. But actually, I’m defining it in terms of the relative lack of heresy, which was obvious from the context. In other words, if God doesn’t bless a church, Presbyterian or otherwise, it will not succeed, regardless of its system of church government; and history has shown clearly that the Presbyterian church became very liberal in later times.


(And consider how much more that would be true if limited only to the Presbyterians that your own denomination would consider not heretical)By the way, I’m not a member of any Presbyterian church. The point I’ve been making all along is that the Presbyterian system was better for Scotland (as it would be for any country) than the Episcopalian/Roman system, that the latter was responsible for a severe persecution of many, many Scots, and that any possible suppression practiced by the Presbyterian party simply cannot be compared.


No - that's not straw man. Straw man is creating a false construct to combat that is a misrepresentation of the intended target.Provided I’m wrong, then no it’s not a straw man argument; but if not, then it is a good example of such an argument.


In the case of the Battlefield Band song (and its very Scottish pov) - it is an observation based upon the fruits of the Kirk.No, it is a deduction made by sinful men, based on the assumption that depriving a sinful man of the source of his happiness (i.e. his sin) will make him unhappy.


However, no group of Christians which we have discussed in this argument have made excuses for sins (in fact, Catholicism and Episcopalianism were quite strict on the matter - no less strict on the most divisive sins, especially concerning sexuality, than the Presbyterians. In fact, they were often more strict: Presbyterianism allowing far more sexual freedom (at least for the men): if not in ideals, at least in praxis and outcomes.On what evidence then do you base this idea that the average Presbyterian was less happy than the average Episcopalian or Catholic?

Personally though, I know that there was much more immorality in Roman-Catholic dominated times, and an acceptance of pagan-style superstition and custom. In fact, the latter is often used by pro pagans as an argument why Roman Catholicism is preferable to Protestantism, because of its greater tendency to preserve “indigenous” European religious customs.


You know, "if the shoe fits" - his contemporaries weren't impressed by him as being exceptionally kind, warm-hearted.Why would his enemies compliment him? Are you basing this statement on what you’ve read from contemporary, neutral observers?


And, compared to other Reformers - lets just say he was Calvin's true child. Finally - he hasn't been 'singled out' more than the rest for anything. That is simply oversensitivity. If any 'reformer' is singled out the most, it would be Martin Luther (whose followers are still closer to "ad fontes" than Calvin's). Secondly, would be Henry VIII in the English speaking world (and unfairly there, I might add - he didn't 'start a church to get divorces' as the polemics have it.) Probably what it is, is a normal reaction against the extremity of Calvinist polemic against other groups (which is especially self-absorbed, myopic when concerning its own faults, and has a habit of mischaracterization of other denominations: such as the Methodists.)I’m referring to Calvin himself actually, not Knox. And I’m referring to him being singled out for portrayal as a cold, sour man, something less frequently attributed to men like Luther.

Roman Catholicism has historically tended to try suppressing opposing views, and pretending they don’t exist, except perhaps by a small minority of ‘extremists’, instead of exposing the falsehood of its interpretation of scripture. (the reason they do this is that they know their own is logically indefensible)

But what should be done is the latter, and for the truth to remain silent is not a good thing. So even if you disagree with their doctrine, yet surely you can understand that if they think their own is the truth, and that souls are perishing because of false doctrine, then they will not want to remain silent, but instead explain what is wrong with that doctrine.

Those churches who say “we don’t mind your disagreements, we’ll respect you as long as you sit down and don’t make a fuss” are being completely hypocritical, and are obviously not interested in propagating the truth, or showing people where they’re mistaken.

If we look at it hypothetically, we can see that if one church criticizes another, whether it is wrong to do so would depend on whether the criticism is valid. But to say criticism of other churches is wrong ‘per se’, then surely that is not a good thing.

So you said you’re not anti-Presbyterian, but you don’t like their criticism (or polemics) of other churches. But if they hold different doctrine, then it would be hypocritical not to mention what they believe to be faults in other churches; to act as if they thought nothing was wrong would be acting against their own conscience.


That is a misrepresentation. St. Augustine's speculations on the matter are not as fully developed as Luther, Calvin, or Knox. All are far more degrees to the extreme. Augustinian, in any case, is precisely the OFFICIAL teaching of the Roman Catholic Church (a fact which seems to escape many Protestants.)Please describe the difference between Calvinism and Augustinianism.


The Roman Church not only condemned Pelagianism, but 'Semi-Pelagian': The church in the Roman Empire is not necessarily the same thing as the Mediaeval Roman church. The heresies accumulated over time.


And if the Roman church is Augustinian the Reformed or Protestant churches are not more 'Augustinian' than Rome (impossible to be more Augustinian than Rome, especially after Trent!) However, that is just the mischaracterization I've pointed out the paragraph before: throwing about labels like 'Pelagian', 'Arminian' as smear terms... not as accurate descriptions. As with the Scriptures, that St. Augustine was not the only (or consensus) teaching on the matter is clear from reading all the Fathers. The imbalance of Reformation and Counter-Reformation is no doubt due to the over-emphasis on what were theological speculations on the part of St. Augustine (similar to the later emphasis of Thomas Aquinas over the earlier consensus of the Church.) (NOTE: 'consensus' not meaning a 'majority vote' of human origin, but the faithfulness to the Deposit of Faith.)And what makes you think the “Deposit of faith” is valid? How many people have to agree on a doctrine to have made it part of the Deposit of faith?


No - I don't read history from an 'anti-Presbyterian' perspective. In fact, I started out quite the opposite. I was trained in logic, and can recognize propaganda and pathologies of communication (logical fallacies) when they are present.Yet it has not prevented you from using such arguments yourself.


Your disagreement, in this case, is because you have partisan attachment: I don't.And on what evidence do you base your assumption that I have partisan attachment? Presumably because I’m arguing in favour of the Presbyterians. You are arguing in favour of the Episcopalian/Roman system, and so you do indeed have partisan attachment.

And spending a recent part of your life as a Traditional Catholic makes you a pretty good candidate as someone with just such an attachment.


I've read Calvin and Knox both - most of their writing is based upon negative statements about not being Roman Catholic or Protestant (Lutheran, 'Arminian', 'Pelagian', etc.)Well I’m afraid you haven’t read them very carefully. They not infrequently mention the false teachings of the Roman church, which is hardly surprising since they were perpetually surrounded by these abuses; and of course they needed to demonstrate that there was indeed a cause for separating. However, their writings are most definitely based on scripture.


It would help if Presbyterians were Presbyterian for adherence to revealed truth solely, rather than as reaction against abuses in other Churches (which are in spite of those churches, not because of them.) If Presbyterians were consistent, they would have (and would now) no doubt protest against the Kirk for the same sins which its members and leaders have committed - if cause enough to separate from Rome, the Episcopalians, et al. Why not now?If you’d read more Presbyterian history, you would have realised that perhaps no church in history has split more than they have; in fact as late as 2000, a Presbyterian denomination split. These divisions have generally involved a minority splitting off from the degenerating mainstream.

But the Presbyterian denominations which became more liberal and heretical are the ones which stop protesting against the abuses of other churches (except for mocking those who hold to the truth, whether Presbyterians or not). They are the ones which don’t care about false teaching, just as long as no-one criticizes them.


Yes, the word for 'not accepted by the mainstream' is heretic . A heretic being one who picks and chooses what he will believe based upon personal opinion, rather than from that passed down whole. 'Mainstream' includes the Church triumpant - our ancestors (the Church Fathers): the reason Calvinist ideas weren't part of the Mainstream from the birth of the Church until Calvin (and even then, have never been more than a minority amongst Christians) is because it was quite outside of what Christians have ever held (meaning, outside of what the Scriptures say.)Those Jews who accepted Christ as the Messiah were certainly a small minority. The mainstream opposed him, though claiming to hold the doctrines of Moses and the prophets. Were the Jewish Christians heretics then?

The Church Fathers themselves varied considerably on their interpretations. Who was right?

Besides, Protestants are not of the opinion that the early church held the doctrines of the Roman Church. In any case, it’s only the doctrines directly revealed by God to the Apostles and Prophets, inspiring them to write the whole ‘canon’ of scripture, which really matter, and are infallible.


The idea of 'unbiblical', in any case, is an innovation in itself (not something found in the Church Fathers - they approached Scripture in quite a different manner, as part of the Sacred Tradition, not a document to be approached with Enlightenment philosophy and irreverent parsing.) However, the idea that orthodoxy was contained at any period in history by being the majority, is quite a mistake - at several periods in history, the mainstream were not Orthodox (such as when the Arians, Iconoclasts, etc. held the majority.)You seem to be using a circular argument here. Firstly, you say you can’t make the mistake of isogetical interpretation, because you accept ‘Sacred Tradition’ rather than your own opinion. But then you say Sacred Tradition is obviously correct, because it holds to what the Scriptures say, or because its doctrines have existed all through. But Protestants say that many Roman Catholic beliefs have not been held all through, and are contrary to the doctrines directly delivered by God to the Apostles and Prophets. Therefore, it is in your theological opinion that these doctrines are correct. Either that or you have simply chosen to accept, blindly and without any solid reason, the personal interpretations of men who went before you.

The concept of ‘unbiblical’ has existed ever since the Bible was fully finished, before which the same thing still essentially existed in the form of ‘contrary to what God has revealed to the Prophets and Apostles’. But apparently it’s a late innovation in the personal opinion of men who operate(d) the Roman church.


Who cares? My point again - ask a Presbyterian for proof, and he lashes out at Rome. Heh.You’re dodging the issue here. I said that Episcopalian church government is a less extreme form of Roman Catholic church government; then you attempted to distance the two, essentially saying that the Episcopalian system is not extreme, to which I replied they have a number of unbiblical features in common, so by implication, this was what the Presbyterians objected to. But this form of government is not wrong because it is shared with the Roman church, but because it is unbiblical.


More isogesis - approaching the text as if it is a mathematical formula?I’m sorry, but if an interpretation of the Bible doesn’t make logical sense then you might as well throw it out the window.


Christianity in the 1st c. rejected that approach (Rabbinics/Pharasaism), instead being Eucharistic in theology. The problem is that the Church from the beginning neither considered all presbyteros to be episcopos, nor did it (nor does it) consider episcopos to be seperate from presbyteros. Every clergyman is still a member of the laity (the congregation), every presbyter still a deacon (diakonos - servant), every bishop still a presbyter/priest. And, every bishop is but a partaker in one office of episcopos - a college/synod. You were saying Presbyterians are wrong because they don’t distinguish between episkopos and presbyteros, but neither does the Bible.

It seems you no longer think “the Church” bases it’s idea of an Episcopalian system of bishops on “episkopos” and “presbyteros” being distinguished in the Bible. So it’d be interesting to know what they do base it on.


1) They were mad at sinful bishops in the Roman Catholic Church.They protested not only against sinful bishops, but against their very doctrines.


3) They rationalized their actions by a personal interpretation of Scripture.And the Roman Catholics not only justified their actions by a personal interpretation, but by restricting access to God’s word which could render their actions unjustifiable.


No, I'm not a Protestant, so I don't have 'theological opinion'.Well as I’ve demonstrated, that idea is fallacious.


You will know they are Christians by their love - Presbyterians and 'love' are not word associations anyone in history has likely made.Christians who tell people they are sinful and need Christ are often accused by liberals of being “unloving”. But what on earth is “loving” about telling people they’re fine when in fact you believe they are going to hell?

And your subjective opinion about Presbyterians not being loving is completely irrelevant anyway. In any case, I happen to disagree.


LOL - Anti-intellectualism, persecution complex: haven't you heard that anti-Catholicism is the 'last remaining acceptable prejudice' (along with hatred of 'Crackers', ie 'White Anglos')? Really, 'Modern "academic opinion"(sic) is nothing of the sort: very little of it is concerned with Presbyterianism, or Protestantism at all. The majority of mainline Protestants (especially Presbyterians) are tolerated for their 'enlightened opinions'.The majority of mainline “Protestants” are liberal, deny the doctrines taught by the reformers, and are therefore not Protestants at all. They join Roman Catholics, atheists, Hindus and what have you, in mocking true Protestants as “extremists”. As for a “persecution complex”, haven’t you read that Christ said his followers would be hated by worldly men? And modern academic opinion is dominated by anti-Christians more than it has been in the past. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore the opinion of “intellectuals” no matter what.

But in my opinion these liberal churches are worse than the Roman Church, at least that church stands for something, even if it’s not Christ. It at least advocates a form of outward morality.


Rome is, however, especially singled out - and no wonder, they have the numbers! (I say that as a Christian and academic with several fundamental disagreements with Rome, based not upon abuses, but upon how faithful certain latter day developments in theology and praxis are faithful to the Sacred Tradition.)It is singled out more than liberal Protestants because it has a habit of making a more conservative stance on moral issues; it is more traditional, and therefore not so politically correct.

It’s the early Protestants who are attacked (and those who still hold to the same beliefs today), and in a question of Protestants versus Roman Catholics (such as the Reformation), it’s the Roman side that is generally supported.


1. The 'Fall' of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire survived until the 1470s. The real 'Fall of the Roman Empire' (Constantinople) led to the spread of Roman learning across Europe, and directly birthed the Renaissance (as well as directly affecting what would become the Reformation.) Most of the Protestant Reformers had the initial reaction of reaching East when they first made their break with Rome (Luther, the Hussites, England - with Henry and Elizabeth, Tyndale, etc.)It’s the Western Empire I’m referring to.


2. The idea of a 'Dark Ages' is quite a late revision. The only period of loss of education/technology we can pinpoint is related to Barbarian invasion of non-Christian/non-Catholic peoples. Roman civilization survived in several areas, however (such as Normandy, SW and Northern England, etc.) However, the lot of most Europeans was far better under Medieval Catholicism than it had been under the Roman Empire. Most importantly was the lack of slavery - a Roman institution, unknown in Medieval Europe, and only reintroduced/continued by the Muslims. Ownership of property by all classes was of fundamental importance to understanding what life was like for the medieval European. As such, the 'Magna Carta' is not a document of innovation, but a document curtailing growing new abuses by a monarchy out of control - the appeal being to the accustomed freedom of Christendom.The term “Dark Ages” is also a reference to the lack of knowledge we have of that era, due to the scarcity of written material then.
But as I indicated, the initial loss of technology and education was due to invasions and the fall of the Empire, but I’m talking about its very slow recovery. And it’s fairly clear to me that the Feudal system was oppressive, probably more so than Roman and pre-Roman societies, at least for more people. Mediaeval punishments were indeed barbaric, considering Europe professed Christianity. Slavery is by no means the worst possible institution, and in fact it may have virtually disappeared in name during Mediaeval times, but a large number of people were in a condition little better than slavery. All in all, in many respects Mediaeval society was inferior to that of Roman times, and probably technologically less advanced.

However, I doubt that the people of that era considered themselves to be in a Dark Age, so in that sense it’s a relatively late concept.


The only thing that was forbidden were idiosyncratic translations - translations into the vernacular were not only occurring before the Reformation in the West, but with Rome's blessing. (The use of the vernacular in the East was still a given at that time.) The men who were prosecuted for illegal translation of Scriptures (including some of my ancestors) were prosecuted, not persecuted, not for the Scriptures being 'made available' - but for translations which were based upon the opinion of one or a few men. Medieval historians like Eamon Duffy have shown that the pre-Reformation laity had plenty of access to divine Scripture, an understanding of Latin, and where they could afford it: copies of the Scriptures and prayer books (which are in turn, nearly entirely Scripture assembled into an order for liturgical use.) The Reformation came about not because of some new availability of the Scriptures, or vernacular translations, but because of the spread of Enlightenment ideas and new versions of the Scripture bound with anti-Roman commentary or anti-Roman translations. That the Reformation went as it did had also plenty to do with national politics, and how they were mishandled by various Popes and Princes (as well as the Reformers.)In general, the Roman church objected to common language translations purely on the grounds of them becoming widely available to “ignorant” people (in other words those who had not been indoctrinated with Roman theology). In the time of Wycliffe, one clergyman said it was “throwing Gospel pearls before swine”. Basically, the wide circulation of common language translations meant that the clergy had difficulty keeping watch over those who read the Bible; they no longer had a monopoly on it.
Certainly there were many educated laymen, such as noblemen, who had access to the Scriptures due to their knowledge of Latin, but the Bible was still in the hands of the clergy, and they had a monopoly on its interpretation. The Bible was not generally widely available enough for its lay readers to escape the “guidance” of the clergy, who could assure anyone with scripturally-based objections to their interpretation, that the Gospel was too complicated for anyone but trained religious men to understand; and not many were willing to question that. But throughout these times, there were some clergymen who did not conform to established dogma, even if they didn’t always openly question it.

The Reformation came about because God gave more men the faith to believe and see the truth, and the courage to question the Church openly and expose its false teachings. It was because of this that they wanted to make God’s truth available to all.


Except we aren't talking about rumours in this case - we're talking about the fact that the Presbyterian blood dished out what it got. To say otherwise is sheer revisionism.You’ve only given a couple of isolated examples of mob murder (in retaliation, rather than for the victims’ beliefs) in order to back up your claim, as against the well documented examples of so many who were executed specifically for Protestantism and Non-Conformity. It’s pretty obvious who the revisionist is here.


And again, you have it wrong - the Mosaic law was never for the Gentiles (such as the Scots) at all. Especially not so when they entered the Church, after the Council of Acts 15.

No, not really. Rather, reading the Roman catechism and papal encyclicals, it is the fact that the Mosaic law was never placed upon the Gentiles in the Church. Those who did so were Judaizers - and that, quite early on. That morality was maintained - yes, however Presbyterianism has advanced much more of the Mosaic law than merely 'moral laws'. Much more than Roman Catholicism required. I will note, that the Catholics also avoided the other extreme of Marcion as well: avoiding both Scylla and Charybdis. The Roman Catholic Church shares that position with the Eastern Orthodox Catholics (Greek-Romanian-Caucasian-Arabic-Slavic), and Oriental Orthodox Catholics (Aramaic-Coptic-Ethiopian-Armenian-Indian).

And, to echo your sentiment: Presbyterians have also promoted morality 'in theory'. The actual praxis has been far more disappointing. If it had been otherwise, possibly more would have been converted...

The Council did not specify 'ceremonial laws': it rather stated it was against those who would lay circumcision 'and the whole law of Moses' upon the Gentile Church, and specified 'we require no more than this'...'abstain from blood, fornication, and things offered to idols'. Three requirements - 'blood' being a reference to the colloquial term for violence (murder, extortion), fornication being sexual immorality, and 'things offered to idols' to partaking in the pagan Civil religion and services of the pagans.Are we allowed to hate God and our neighbour, covet or bear false witness? Clearly you cannot use this passage as proof that the moral law of Moses was revoked.

The “law of Moses” is to be taken in its obvious context, and what this context was is to be gathered from the whole of Scripture, although the mention of circumcision makes it fairly clear anyway. If it was obvious that the moral law had not been revoked, then it would likewise have been obvious that the “law of Moses” meant the ceremonial part. Generic or non-specific terms that are to be understood from context are frequent in ancient writers, Biblical and otherwise, and can easily be misunderstood when the context is not known.


Ah - back to an old point. This is 'straw man argument' - I say 'moderation', you accuse of 'liberal'. So - no, you haven't heard this argument before. You simply can't argue with it (because it is a New Testament commandment, 'all things in moderation') - so, call evil good, and try to transfer the guilt of the evil onto the good.The moderation of Christ is not the same as the moderation of the world. You are arguing “moderation” to justify opposition to something that I believe is God’s truth. So obviously from my point of view you are using the same argument that liberals use; they interpret Christ’s definition of moderation as being the same as their definition which conforms to the world.


That's a misquote. Not 'extremism', but 'foolishness'.It wasn’t a quote, but yours is incomplete. Have you forgotten that it’s also a “stumblingblock” to the Jews.


Which is just semantic squirming - Jesus Christ and the Apostles were not seen as extreme, did not preach nor practice extremism. And yes, extremism is a sign of falsehood - extremism being the outcome of giving oneself over to one's passions, being ruled by the belly. Extremism is sin.Worldly men claim that the doctrine of salvation in Christ alone, with unbelievers going to hell, is extreme. What worldly men consider extreme varies a lot, but many would say that to claim certain horribly immoral sins are wrong, is extremism.



It wasn't just 'licentious ballads', but most of Scottish culture that made Scotland Scotland.Can you think of some non-immoral aspects of Scottish culture which were rejected?


Immorality did most certainly not decline after the Reformation. Sins were simply exchanged for others. With 'religious revivals' we move out of the mainstream of Presbyterianism, and into the origins of other Protestant movements which the Presbyterian mainstream eventually rejected.The Highlands and islands of Scotland were semi-pagan (though nominally Episcopalian or Roman Catholic) as late as the beginning of the nineteenth century. They are now overwhelmingly Presbyterian (and among the few really Christian-based societies); this is entirely due to religious revivals, mostly in the nineteenth century. You have a lot to learn about historical Presbyterians if you think religious revivals are “un-Presbyterian”.


Moralism may look moral, but it isn't - it becomes an idol, leads to self-righteousness, and is a distortion of morality.”Straw man”. I say immorality declined after the Reformation, you accuse Presbyterians of moralism. But if ever there was an appropriate term to describe Roman teaching, it would be moralism.

That church has always emphasized salvation by man’s merits at the expense of salvation by God’s grace alone. This is really the main reason for the Reformers “protestations” against the Roman church. The Reformers taught that man is totally sinful, that “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” and therefore that no amount of “good works” could take someone to heaven.
But, they taught that good works are the result of God’s merciful forgiveness of someone by grace, as opposed to the idea that God saves men as a result of their good works. Scripture makes it very clear that anyone who violates one single part of the moral law deserves hell, and it also makes clear that absolutely no-one is capable of not breaking it (i.e. of being perfect). So in other words, if it were not for God’s pardoning grace alone, then everyone who has ever lived (and ever will live) would have gone to hell.

But the fact that the Roman church was moralistic does not mean it succeeded in creating a moral society, because without God’s saving, soul-changing grace and turning people from a love of their sin, they will still want it, and society cannot become truly moral. Preaching morality without the Gospel is pointless.


Actually, it isn't a polemic - it is part of Scottish culture.That kind of thing is a part of the culture of sinful men in any country.


Which brings us back around to the original point. Scottish Presbyterianism cannot be the exclusive Scottish Church because:


1) It is a rejection of most of Scottish history and culture.I’d have to find out what you mean by “rejection”


2) Scotland has never been unanimously Presbyterian, and never will be.The first is true, the second remains to be seen.


3) Presbyterian claims to Scotland can only be with parallel claims (complimentary we hope) by Scottish Catholics, Scottish Episcopalians, Scottish Methodists, Scottish Quakers, and other traditional Scottish churches.What we should be hoping is that the church whose teaching is the nearest to the truth will succeed in every country.


And possibly a fourth point:


4) Presbyterianism became the enemy it hated by embracing the original error that led to the multiplicity of errors it abhorred: the wielding of political power by the Church.Well, Presbyterians have never been preachers of the “total separation of church and state” idea, if that’s what you mean. If that’s not what you mean, then please explain.


At least we can say of the Episcopalians, one could be a member of that Church and hold entirely to the the Presbyterian theology (with the exception of rebellion/hatred against episcopos)I thought you were implying Calvinism is a false and extreme view.


with the comprehensiveness that one could also be a member and hold to the Catholic theology (without late medieval Roman errors and Papacy.)What makes you think those late innovations are errors?


So - Presbyterian first, Scottish incidentally (and only casually.)Of course the un-bracketed statement applies equally to Roman Catholicism and Episcopalianism. But this is irrelevant anyway, and Scotland was once fully pagan too. Any country is better of with the truth, and that’s what matters.