Biblical Double Standards

Simon Hendricksz, Tobias and the Angel Curing Tobit of Blindness (1630)
Simon Hendricksz, Tobias and the Angel Curing Tobit of Blindness (1630)

Let’s talk a little bit about the Bible: how do we know which books belong in it and which don’t? Seven Books of the Bible (Tobit, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Sirach [a.k.a. Ecclesiasticus], Judith, Wisdom, and Baruch) along with portions of the Books of Esther and Daniel, were removed from the Protestant Bible. These books are called “Deuterocanonical” by Catholics and “Apocryphal” by Protestants.

A few years back, I warned against employing a Biblical double standard that I saw being used by Protestant apologists, in which they would hold books inside the Protestant Bible to one standard of proof, and books outside the Protestant Bible to another (much higher) standard of proof. So if Jesus doesn’t quote the Book of Wisdom, that’s proof it’s not part of the Bible; but if He doesn’t quote Esther, that’s okay, we still know it’s part of the Bible (somehow).

Another way of considering the double standard question would be: if Protestants held every book of the Bible to the standards that they hold the books that they reject, they would end up missing a huge number of their books. And conversely, if they approach the Deuterocanon with the same charitable reading with which they approach (say) Judges, there would be no reason not to include it as part of the Scriptures.

Keeping that theme in mind, I want to respond to several arguments raised by The Reformed Collective in a piece fittingly entitled “Is the Apocrypha Scripture?” That piece argues that we can “see clearly that there are contradictions to the text of the Apocrypha when compared to other books of the canon which are not disputed.” Let’s look at those alleged contradictions, and imagine what would happen if we held the entire Bible to those standards.

I. Judith and Simeon

The “problem”:

Judith, in Judith 9:2, prays “O Lord God of my father Sim′eon, to whom thou gavest a sword to take revenge on the strangers who had loosed the girdle of a virgin to defile her, and uncovered her thigh to put her to shame, and polluted her womb to disgrace her; for thou hast said, ‘It shall not be done’—yet they did it.” It’s a reference to Genesis 34, in which Simeon and Levi avenge their sister Dinah after she was raped.

So what’s the problem? Well, Jacob, in Genesis 34 (and again in his blessing of his sons in Gen. 49) rebukes the sons for their wrath in taking vengeance. So there’s an apparent contradiction: was this wrathful and wrong, or the will of God?

But if you’re going to reject the Book on that basis, you’d better also reject…

The Psalms. After all, the Book says “There is no God.” It’s true: Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1 both say as much… more specifically, they say “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”

A better solution: Recognize the difference between reporting and endorsing.

Bear in mind that there’s no actual tension between saying that it was just for Dinah’s brothers to avenge her against her rapists and that it was wrong for them to proceed to murder all of the men in the town.

But even if you view Judith’s prayer and Jacob’s as contradictory, that’s okay. Just because the Bible says two different people said two different things, it doesn’t mean that the Bible is endorsing both views. Otherwise, we would have to say that the Bible is “endorsing” the fool’s claim that there is no God. So even if Judith the woman is wrong, that doesn’t make the Book of Judith wrong.

II. Miracles and Magic

The “problem”:

Tobias has a father who has been blinded, and is about to meet his future wife, who is tormented by demons. The angel Raphael instructs him in Tobit 6:2-8 to catch a fish, and to use the gall bladder to cure his dad’s blindness and the heart and liver to drive out the demons. This, according to The Reformed Collective, is “magical.”

But if you’re going to reject the Book on that basis, you’d better also reject…

The Gospels. In Matthew 17:24-27, Jesus has Peter catch a fish with enough money in its mouth to pay the Temple Tax. And all four Gospels involve miraculous feeding of thousands of people with just a few fish. If Tobit 6 is “magic,” then so are these.

A better solution: Recognize the difference between miracles and magic.

Magic is man’s attempt to wrest spiritual authority away from God and to control it himself, while miracles operate through the Sovereignty of God. They are diametrically opposed to one another. It’s not surprising that atheists would fail to grasp this distinction, mocking the Christian belief in miracles as “magical” thinking. But it is genuinely surprising and troubling to see Christians making the same mistake.

(The other aspect of this supposed “contradiction” is that Jesus says in Matthew 17:21 that “this kind [of demon] never comes out except by prayer and fasting.” But there’s just no contradiction there at all, any more than there’s a contradiction between the statements “this dog doesn’t have spots” and “some kinds of dogs have spots.”)

III. Lying?

The “problem”:

The Reformed Collective claims that “Judith’s lies and deceits are praised in chapter 11 contrary to the moral law of God.” It’s not actually true that Judith 11 praises Judith for lying (I mean, you can go read the chapter for yourself, if you’d like), but if it were, the problem would be Scripture praising Saints who lie.

But if you’re going to reject the Book on that basis, you’d better also reject…

Judges and Exodus. Judith’s lying to the tyrant Holofernes is described in Judith 11, just as Jael’s lying to the tyrant Sisera is described in Judges 4. And you could make a much stronger case that Exodus 1 is praising lying than that Judith 11 is, since Exodus actually talks about God blessing the lying midwives (Ex. 1:15-21).

A better solution: Again, recognize the difference between reporting and endorsing.

Additionally, recognize that good people throughout Scripture frequently act in imperfect ways, even when they’re motivated by the best of intentions. A careful and charitable reading would show that all three books are simply showing that holy people sometimes lie while trying to do the will of God (Exodus 1 praises the women for being God-fearing, not for lying).

IV. Historical Anachronisms?

The “problem”:

“The book of Baruch mentions the altar of the Lord (Bar 1:10) during a time when the temple was destroyed.”

But if you’re going to reject the Book on that basis, you’d better also reject…

The Book of Jeremiah, which literally does the exact same thing. Jeremiah 41:4-5:

On the day after the murder of Gedali′ah, before any one knew of it, eighty men arrived from Shechem and Shiloh and Samar′ia, with their beards shaved and their clothes torn, and their bodies gashed, bringing cereal offerings and incense to present at the temple of the Lord.

A better solution: Recognize our limitations.

Sometimes, we’ll encounter what appear to be historical inaccuracies, and it’s important to remember that the fault might just be on our end. It’s not as if the authors of Jeremiah and Baruch are unaware of the destruction of the Temple (Baruch 2:26 alludes to it, saying that “the house which is called by thy name thou hast made as it is today, because of the wickedness of the house of Israel and the house of Judah”). It’s unthinkable that they would have both just screwed up this detail. So some have speculated that the Jews during this period continued to go to the site of the Temple ruins for prayer and sacrifice. We simply don’t know.

V. Chicken-Or-Egg?

The “problem”:

The Reformed Collective claims that there’s a sort of chicken-or-egg contradiction between Romans 1 and Wisdom 19:

While Paul reveals to us that men took the true worship of the true God and exchanged it for worship of creatures, imagining that they could worship the true God through them yet corrupting their souls in the process, Wisdom gives us a different account. According to its author, men made images and then ascribed divinity to them; over time, this became a custom written into law. Paul starts with God who is then given corrupted worship. Wisdom starts with the making of corruptible men who are then ascribed divinity. Which is it?

But if you’re going to reject the Book on that basis, you’d better also reject…

The Gospel of Luke (and several other books of the Bible). In Luke 7:42, Jesus seems to suggest that the penitent woman loves much because she has been forgiven. But a few verses later, in Luke 7:47, He seems to say that she is forgiven because she loves much.

A better solution: Reread Wisdom and Romans.

The mistake here is actually on the reader’s end. He says that “Paul reveals to us that men took the true worship of the true God and exchanged it for worship of creatures, imagining that they could worship the true God through them yet corrupting their souls in the process.” But Paul doesn’t say anything about them trying to worship the true God through idols. He says quite the opposite: that they stopped worshipping God and started worshipping creatures.

In fact, Paul is saying the same thing as the Book of Wisdom. Wisdom 14:12-14 links idolatry and sexual immorality, saying that “the idea of making idols was the beginning of fornication, and the invention of them was the corruption of life, for neither have they existed from the beginning nor will they exist for ever. For through the vanity of men they entered the world, and therefore their speedy end has been planned.” St. Paul makes the exact same argument in Romans 1:21-27, when he says of the pagans:

although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

 

Paul isn’t saying that God is offered “corrupted worship,” as this article suggests. He’s saying that the people rejected worship of God in order to worship creatures, and it was through this turning from God to creatures that marked the origins of extreme sexual immorality.

It’s not just that there’s no contradiction. It’s that Paul actually seems to be basing his specific line of argumentation in Romans 1 off of Wisdom 14. Indeed, there are several other places in the epistle in which he alludes to the Book of Wisdom directly. For example, in his famous line in Romans 9:21, he’s quoting from Wisdom 15:7. (Both David Gray and Devin Rose have some explored Paul’s other uses of the Book of Wisdom elsewhere, so that’s enough on that point.)

Conclusion

Hopefully, these concrete example have amply illustrated the sort of double standard that it’s easy to fall into. If you’re trying to determine which books belong in the Bible, you can’t start by giving 66 of them a pass, while holding the final 7 to an exacting standard to which the other 66 wouldn’t pass.

This actually leads to one final critical problem with this approach. The Reformed Collective begins its line of argumentation by declaring that “we will see clearly that there are contradictions to the text of the Apocrypha when compared to other books of the canon which are not disputed.” But this still begs the question. You can’t say “these books don’t belong in the Bible, because they contradict these other parts of the Bible” without already having at least some Biblical Books. In this case, the article assumes that we know that the 66 books of the Protestant Bible are all inspired and canonical, and that we can judge by the Deuterocanon by how well it lines up with these 66 books. But how do we know that these 66 books are inspired and canonical?

Through the witness of the early Church and particular early Christians. But that same early Church claimed that the Deuterocanon was inspired, and those early Christians quoted it as Scripture frequently. If they’re unreliable witnesses on this question, then we can’t trust them about which books belong in the Bible, and so you lose both the Deuterocanon and the other 66 books. If you can trust them, you can trust them for the 66 books and the Deuterocanon. But you can’t just arbitrarily pick and choose.

30 Comments

  1. Another example of lying: Rahab the Harlot also lied to the Amorite pursuers looking for the Jewish spies. St. James says that work had even justified her (2:25).

    1. it talks about her hiding them not lyring so she’s not praised for that and I dont think she ever lied to the pursuers

      1. She never disputed the soldiers’ claim that the men had come to visit her, so she was careful to avoid calling their witnesses liars, but she did lie outright about where the spies had gone, and that was a core part of hiding them. It’s in Joshua 2:5.

        1. you are right about that, I was wrong. Though James 2:25 only talks about her helping the spies hide

          Thanks

          God Bless

  2. The double standards of Protestants also extend to a notable bias for what they claim to be ‘explicit’ scriptural precepts, and particularly those found in various letters of St. Paul, over the parables of Jesus Christ Himself, which are symbolic in nature, but nevertheless, are highly informative for teaching about the nature eternal life and the Kingdom of God. With various ‘supposedly’ explicit precepts found in various words and letters of St. Paul, they can justify their discounting of multitudes of beautiful metaphors, parables and descriptive words provided to us by the mouth of Jesus Himself, and used to describe, teach, threaten and warn, His disciples regarding their salvation. For instance, Protestants will stress Paul’s saying in Romans 3:28:
    “For we account a man to be justified by faith, without the works of the law.” And, then they amplify and adapt this saying with their own interpretation, resulting in their novel doctrine that ‘faith ALONE’ effects justification… or even more amplified..’Once Saved Always Saved’. On the other hand, they will neglect to account for the symbolic words and parables of Jesus which contradicts these Protestant precepts, such as when the Lord says:

    “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men.” (Matthew 5:13)

    The ‘Once Saved Always Saved’ doctrine is clearly contradicted by this allegorical teaching of Christ, wherein Jesus uses the symbol of ‘salt’ to describe the faith and love of His disciples, but at the same time this same ‘salt’ is described by Christ to be subject to lose it’s ‘savour’ and become worthless. And when this happens, Jesus says it is good for nothing but to be ‘cast out’, clearly denoting that salvation that once was achieved, has been clearly lost. That is to say, the state of this soul had once been ‘salty’ like the other disciples of Christ, but through one temptation or another (maybe similar to the account of Judas Iscariot) the once salty faith of that soul was degraded to the point of no return. And Jesus also fortifies this teaching when He admonishes “Pray always that you enter not into temptation”. This is the particular precautionary antidote given to His followers so as to help them maintain the ‘saltiness of faith’ in their lives.

    But why do Protestants stress St. Paul over Jesus’ teachings? it seems that they prefer to focus on ‘dialectic’ teachings in the scriptures, or at least, scriptures that can be argued ‘dialectically’… dialectic being the practice of arriving at a conclusion by the exchange of logical arguments. So, it seems there is a double standard here, wherein they stress scripture that can be argued and debated dialectically, over scriptures that teach in a metaphorical or allegorical way. The problem is, is that dialectic is used very infrequently, if at all, in the Gospel teachings. And, Jesus Himself preferred the use of parables and metaphors as His preferred method to teach the Gospel message. So, in my opinion, if their should be any ‘double standard’ or bias towards one scripture or another, it should be more towards the parable teachings and sayings of Jesus found in the four Gospels. And, so, the Gospels also should be given priority over all other scriptures.

    It’s also no wonder that the Catholic Church is of the same opinion and gives pride of place to the ‘Gospels’ in the Sacred liturgy, celebrated everyday throughout the world. That is, up and beyond the other scriptures of the New Testament the reading of the Gospel of Christ is given the most attention in the reading of sacred scriptures. This can be witnessed at any Catholic Mass. Can Protestants say the same (maybe excluding the Anglicans)? Or, do they have a practical and theological bias, towards the letters of St. Paul in their weekly scriptural teachings?

    1. That’s a bogus argument if I EVER heard one, awlms…Jesus made it clear to Nicodemus that one CANNOT enter the Kingdom of God,i.e.,be saved unless one is Born-Again, which has NOTHING to do with salt losing its savour; Eternal Life is God’s Life in the believer, and if you or anyone else can explain how Almighty God in Christ can lose His Life,then you can explain away Biblical Salvation. Let me ask you this question: What do you think would have to transpire, occur, or happen in order for eternal life to cease being eternal? If Jesus said that those to whom He has given Eternal Life they will NEVER perish, explain exactly how in ANY sense He would rescind that promise, since,as the Scriptures make clear, …”it is impossible for God to lie”…? I await your reply. And please use Scripture, not speculative pseudo-theological arguments to base your arguments,please. PEACE IN CHRIST 😊.

      1. Something we need to remind each other is if we wish each other peace in Christ, we must act peaceful ourselves. Adjectives like “bogus” and “pseudo-theological” are meant to inflame, and even if you think their usage is true, it is not charitable.

        God bless,
        Craig

  3. RC Sproul’s Tabletalk issue this month goes so far as to say that Philip Melanchthon interpreted the Greek word for justification better than the Church (and the Eastern Orthodox). If you can make a new Bible and interpret it on your own without regard to history and reality you have liberalism embodied in Protestanism.

    Luther made up his own Bible. Didn’t stick

  4. While I cannot speak for Reformed Collective, I would say that generally Protestants know next-to-nothing about the Deuterocanon, yet they have a dogmatic revulsion to it. This leads to ignorance on their behalf, as the people Joe quoted were picking the wrong parts of Tobit and Judith if their goal was to question their historicity.

    Michuca in his debate with James White on the subject made a great point: If Protestants employ the sort of critical hermeneutic to the proto-Canon as they do to the Deuterocanon, there result would be that they would be no different than liberal critics, doubting the inspiration of all of Scripture. So, the Protestants are hypocrites in doing this. (I’ve seen more than a little hypocrisy from Catholics, and from myself, so no one is exempt. We just have to call it as it is.)

    The revulsion to the Deuterocanon is to me, ungodly. I approached the Elders of my church about all of the obvious New Testament parallels found only in the Wisdom of Solomon, plus the obvious prophecy of Wis 2. I printed out for them, in nice columns and what not so it would be easy to read. The same list I gave them is on my website (https://christianreformedtheology.com/2016/04/11/overview-of-the-deuterocanon-tobit-through-wisdom/). That being said, I told them if God is clearly prophetic through this writing it is incumbent upon the church to teach it. That was about six months ago. I have not heard anything since. It is almost as if even considering the Deuterocanon as Canon is heretical, even though Protestantism would have no authoritative means to state this, as they lack an authority to declare what is Canon.

    Lastly, let me note, some of the Protestant objections are just mega lame. For example, the “magic” in Tobit. Big deal. Jesus made mud with His spit and cured blindness. Was He practicing magic? No! God all the time in the Scripture works miracles through physical mediums, big whoop.
    ___

    Now, if I were to question the authority of Judith and Tobit, I can pull together better arguments than what we see in the article here.

    Quoting myself:

    1. The book [of Tobit] contradicts the known Biblical record of history by ascribing to Tobit (an exiled 8th century Israelite) a piety expressed in adhering to the Passover and other Jewish festivals. In fact, Jewish festivals were not celebrated until the time of Hezekiah, and not followed correctly as the Law stipulated until the reign of Josiah. However, Tobit is said to have faithfully taken part in all the festivals (Tob 1:6) in Jerusalem before the fall of Samaria (Tob 1:2), as he was exiled before the reign of Sargon II.

    2. Like Tobit, Judith appears to have historical details a bit off. For example, the story is about Nebuchadnezzar sending a general named Holofernes to conquer the Jews. The capital of Babylon is Nineveh for some reason, though it can be argued that he was ruling from his summer palace or something of the sort. However, the emphasis on him being the “king of the Assyrians” just seems a bit off. Further, the events of the story occur during the king’s 18th year (2:1), which is 587-586 BC. This is essentially the time when in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles Judah completely capitulated. Yet, in this story, the Jews win a massive victory! Obviously, the chronology barely works, though if one wanted to say that Judith’s victory was the last hurrah for Judah before a massive defeat, it is technically possible.

    Now, a Protestant would have justification to question the literal historicity of Tobit and Judith, but the hallmark of Scripture is not always literal historicity. Just because Solomon’s wife probably didn’t have breasts like leaping gazelles and cheeks like pomegranates, that does not invalidate Song of Solomon. We, as readers, have to read a Scripture consistently with its genre. This might blow a lot of people’s minds, but not everything in Scripture falls within the genre of history as we know it today. History as a historical discipline was invented by Thucydides (the first to purposely not incorporate myths.) Almost the whole Bible, other than parts of the Deuterocanon, was written before Thucydides was a twinkle in his father’s eye. To expect God to communicate in a genre of literature, literal history, that did not exist and would have been completely alien to its audience is an ignorant anachronism. This is not to say that the Bible does not include history, it surely does (and it also includes statements that were scientifically verified thousands of years later too..revelation is like that.) But, that does not mean the Bible does not always present facts in a literal, historical way as that, as I said before, would be anachronistic.

    I’m sure these thoughts will offend someone. I apologize in advance. I think I am being very even handed.

    God bless,
    Craig

    1. Well Craig, your thoughts shouldn’t offend Catholics because what you said is very Catholic! lol. I especially liked this:

      “Lastly, let me note, some of the Protestant objections are just mega lame. For example, the “magic” in Tobit. Big deal. Jesus made mud with His spit and cured blindness. Was He practicing magic? No! God all the time in the Scripture works miracles through physical mediums, big whoop.”

      You could almost call God working miracles through physical mediums a “sacrament” couldn’t you? The only difference is that the Sacraments of the Catholic Church aren’t “miraculous” in the sense of a visible supernatural occurrence but they are supernatural. If God can use physical mediums to cure the lame/blind/deaf, why couldn’t He do the same to distribute His grace? In fact, given Jesus’s propensity to use physical mediums to perform miracles, I think we should expect it. But I digress.

      You also said:

      “It is almost as if even considering the Deuterocanon as Canon is heretical, even though Protestantism would have no authoritative means to state this, as they lack an authority to declare what is Canon.”

      Doesn’t it bother you that protestantism has no authoritative means to state what the Canon of scripture is? In fact, protestantism has no authoritative means to bind any dogma to anyone. Such is the nature of sola scriptura. Well, the Catholic Church does have this authority and therefore has a superior paradigm.

      May God be with you.

      Matthew

      1. Matt,

        The key thing that bothers me as a Protestant is the is my own capacity for self-deceit. So, even if I try my hardest to worship God correctly and according to correct doctrine, I can be analyzing wrong. I am simply not smart enough. Obviously, Catholicism offers the inerrancy of its Church as a way of guarding against this, but even then one would have to hope that they are not deceived in presuming the Catholic Church is right. So, ultimately, we are very intellectually fragile and at God’s mercy, which is why I pray for the humility to worship Him correctly and practice was I ought morning and evening.

        As for the Canon, the lack of an authoritative Canon does not bother me. Right now I am 3/5 done with my commentary on Irenaeus. When Irenaeus defends Apostolic doctrine, he is convinced it is fully furnished in the Scriptures. He views the Scriptures sufficient to convince the Gnostics. Yet, Irenaeus Canon would be different to anyone’s today.

        When it comes to Canon, we should be emphasizing what we have in common and not fighting about the things which really are not all that different. In the end of the day, studying Tobit or 2 Maccabees can only enrich the Christian. So why cut off your nose to spite your face?

        God bless,
        Craig

        1. Craig, thank you for your comments.

          You say:

          “The key thing that bothers me as a Protestant is the is my own capacity for self-deceit. So, even if I try my hardest to worship God correctly and according to correct doctrine, I can be analyzing wrong. I am simply not smart enough. Obviously, Catholicism offers the inerrancy of its Church as a way of guarding against this, but even then one would have to hope that they are not deceived in presuming the Catholic Church is right. So, ultimately, we are very intellectually fragile and at God’s mercy, which is why I pray for the humility to worship Him correctly and practice was I ought morning and evening.”

          Prayer is completely commendable but the first part of this statement seems to me akin to Cartesian skepticism. My faith that the Church is inerrant is not based on a presumption or presupposition. It’s based on the reality of the Church being the body of Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ is God. Since God cannot err, there has to be some kind of inerrancy in the Church as well. It makes sense that God would want to prevent errors on faith and morals being taught by the Church. So to me, I am as certain that the Church cannot teach error on faith or morals as I am that Jesus is God. Now if you take your skepticism to it’s logical conclusion, you could not be certain that Jesus is God, that God is Trinity, or literally every other doctrine of faith.

          As for the Canon, I cannot recall where Irenaeus articulates what he believes the Canon to be but I might be wrong. In any case, it would make sense that when arguing with a certain group on the Scriptures, you would use Scriptures that both you and your opponents accept. I wouldn’t use 2 Maccabees to argue purgatory with most protestants (present company excluded lol) because they reject it as Scripture. But I could make a separate argument for the canonicity of 2 Maccabees along with the rest of the Deuterocanon. I believe Irenaeus did this with the Gnostics when it came to the Old Testament in general. And as I said to you before, it doesn’t follow that just because a lot of people agree on the canonicity of a book, that said book is actually Canon. Your skepticism would apply to both of us even on areas where we agree. And if you can’t be certain of the Canon, it logically follows that you cannot be certain of any doctrine.

          May God be with you.

          Matthew

          1. Al,

            “The first part of this statement seems to me akin to Cartesian skepticism.”

            Well, it pretty much is. I am pretty much a misologist. My mistrust of human perception and intellectual abilities is the key reason that I believe revelation from God is necessary to even make sense of the world.

            “My faith that the Church is inerrant is not based on a presumption or presupposition. It’s based on the reality of the Church being the body of Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ is God. Since God cannot err, there has to be some kind of inerrancy in the Church as well.”

            Well, it sounds like a presupposition to me. First, you presuppose that the events you read about Christ are true, instead of made up. Then you presuppose that His Church is, by necessity, a physical institution with a Pope in Rome who happens to be Francis. We all have presuppositions, we just need to be honest about them.

            “Now if you take your skepticism to it’s logical conclusion, you could not be certain that Jesus is God, that God is Trinity, or literally every other doctrine of faith.”

            I view all dogmas, constructed rightly, as logical, but they derive from a presuppositional authority. I just named your presuppositions. To say you can either logically, or empirically, prove what the Scriptures says is true is a fool’s endeavor. We accept it on faith. And you accept the authority of your Church on faith.

            “As for the Canon, I cannot recall where Irenaeus articulates what he believes the Canon to be but I might be wrong.”

            He doesn’t but we can get an idea about what he thought Canon was by what books he quoted (he quoted the heretical Shepherd of Hermas as “Scripture” for example.) He also failed to quote certain other books (2 Peter, Jude) which may mean he was not aware of their existence.

            Personally, I think he read Shepherd at one time, quoted it from memory, and was not thinking to hard about who wrote it (as he himself defines NT Scriptures as works written by the Apostles or their associates, while Shepherd clearly was not ascribed to either of these.)

            “I wouldn’t use 2 Maccabees to argue purgatory with most protestants (present company excluded lol)…”

            Honestly, any Biblical argument would ultimately fail (2 Macc) included, I’d rather go with the nebulous oral tradition on that one! 😉

            “And if you can’t be certain of the Canon, it logically follows that you cannot be certain of any doctrine.”

            Pretty much, my presupposition is that the Scriptures are true and I would affirm, without doubt, essentially 85 percent of the Scriptures are Canon. As for the rest not quoted by the Apostles or Jesus, or those that have no obvious marks of revelation*, I view the matter as debatable. Personally, the only works I would have issue with are Maccabees, as there is almost nothing in there of a doctrinal nature and the writer of 2 Macc says, “f it is well told and to the point, that is what I myself desired; if it is poorly done and mediocre, that was the best I could do.” But even then, it does not mean 2 Macc has nothing of value and that it should not be read.

            *I think that Wisdom of Solomon, which is referenced extensively in the NT and contains an accurate prophecy (a supernatural occurrence) demands recognition that it comes from God and not man.

            God bless,
            Craig

          2. Hi Craig. Thank you for your comments.

            I have to say that I’m very skeptical of presuppositionalism (see what I did there? lol). While I will admit that presuppositional apologetics can have some value, they certainly don’t prove anything because no one ever proved a conclusion by presupposing it. That is the fallacy of begging the question which may be why I see so many protestant apologists doing it (sorry I had to lol). It’s very difficult to argue with someone who just presupposes all of their own conclusions on various matters. And by argue, I mean philosophical argument. I do appreciate your admission on this though and it helps me know better where you are coming from. However there are several things I need to say in response.

            First off, I do not need to “presuppose that the events you read about Christ are true, instead of made up.” There are incredibly good reasons to believe that the events I read about Christ are true and not made up. These are called the “motives of credibility.” The apostles have no reason to lie. We can see this because they were persecuted for their beliefs and teachings and all ended up (with the exception of John) getting a very painful death. So did many of the next generations of Christians. There was no substantial material gain to be had from what the apostles did. On the contrary, they gave up their old lives and completely dedicated them to Christ and suffered much for it. The same holds with many of the Early Church Fathers. And in them we see a HIGHLY structured, organized, visible Church that makes authoritative decisions that are binding on the faithful. Honestly, we see this in Scripture too but it’s especially obvious throughout the epistles of Ignatius of Antioch. Again, Ignatius of Antioch has no reason to lie about the three-fold distinction of polity he makes between the episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate. What did he get out of it? Chewed to death by lions that’s what! lol.

            The same logic holds for the Divinity of Jesus and his resurrection. The reality of both is by far the best explanation of the evidence. C.S. Lewis’s “liar, lunatic, or Lord” is still a fantastic argument that no one has substantially refuted. I can make a very powerful case using reason alone that God exists, that Jesus is God, and that He established a visible Church with the authority to speak in His name.

            And as a sidebar, God’s existence also does not need to be presupposed. I don’t “believe” God exists. I KNOW he does! That does not require any faith. Saying that God’s existence must be presupposed would make skeptics like Hume and Kant smile ear to ear. Now I know presuppositionalists say things like “God’s existence is the only way to make sense of the universe and an atheistic universe makes no sense.” While I actually completely agree with that, this still doesn’t PROVE God’s existence. Atheists today are perfectly happy saying we live in a senseless and purposeless universe and a presuppositionalist would have nothing more to say.

            Everything else I said (Jesus being God, His resurrection, the Church) I will admit falls under the category of inductive reasoning (whereas God’s existence can be known by deductive reasoning). I think the evidence is so powerful that to reject it is boarder-line unreasonable but the evidence is inductive nonetheless. I’ll further admit that both protestants and Catholics are in the same epistemic situation at the start, but not at the end. The evidence is powerful enough that having faith in the Catholic Church is “reasonable.” But to say that everything the Church teaches could be known by reason alone would be rationalism and there would then be no need for faith. However, the presuppositionalism you espouse really amounts to nothing more than fideism. When you make a statement like:

            “To say you can either logically, or empirically, prove what the Scriptures says is true is a fool’s endeavor. We accept it on faith.”

            you tip your hand and reveal your fideism. Inductive reasoning is perfectly acceptable and your skepticism is not justified.

            Now, if you reject all the inductive evidence in favor of the Catholic Church, you are left in an uncomfortable position. You’re right that I cannot deductively prove using reason alone that the Catholic Church is divinely protected from error. But then the question becomes if you reject that, what are you left with? The epistemology of the Catholic Church possesses the power to actually declare what is heterodox and what is orthodox. Protestantism possesses no such authority. You admit quite frankly that you cannot be certain of any doctrine. The next time James White whines when Catholics bring this up concerning the doctrine of the Trinity, remember this lol. Under sola scriptura, certainty on any doctrine, even the Trinity, is impossible. If the Catholic Church is right about itself, then certainty IS possible. So the Catholic paradigm is demonstrated to be superior to the sola scriptura paradigm even if all my positive evidence for the Catholic paradigm is inductive and not deductive.

            May God be with you.

            Matthew

          3. Matt,

            I come from an atheistic background, so allow me to channel my inner atheist when countering your non-presuppositional arguments 🙂

            “These are called the “motives of credibility.” The apostles have no reason to lie.”

            Sure they do, people lie about stuff all the time for no gain. I mean, look how most people vote.

            Half-jokes aside (I wish it was less than half), the Apostles had very real, psychological reasons to lie. For one, they just lost their idol. One man’s wish projection of “seeing” the risen Christ could have caused a mass-delusional phenomena, or perhaps envy and other people willed themselves to see it.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_hysteria

            Langston Hughes writes of a similar experience during his childhood:

            The preacher preached a wonderful rhythmical sermon, all moans and shouts and lonely cries and dire pictures of hell, and then he sang a song about the ninety and nine safe in the fold, but one little lamb was left out in the cold. Then he said: “Won’t you come? Won’t you come to Jesus? Young lambs, won’t you come?” And he held out his arms to all us young sinners there on the mourners’ bench. And the little girls cried. And some of them jumped up and went to Jesus right away. But most of us just sat there…Still I kept waiting to see Jesus.

            Finally all the young people had gone to the altar and were saved, but one boy and me…[Then he] said to me in a whisper: “God damn! I’m tired o’ sitting here. Let’s get up and be saved.” So he got up and was saved.

            Then I was left all alone on the mourners’ bench. My aunt came and knelt at my knees and cried, while prayers and song swirled all around me in the little church…I wanted to see him, but nothing happened to me. Nothing! I wanted something to happen to me, but nothing happened.

            “We can see this because they were persecuted for their beliefs and teachings and all ended up (with the exception of John) getting a very painful death.”

            Jehovah’s Witnesses have a small history of their own full of persecutions. Their leaders essentially live in monk cells (I have seen the equivalents). THey give up a lot for a lie. So, it is not alien to the human experience.

            Heck, we have buddhist monks that burn themselves to death, and they worship a demon. So, willingness to suffer does not prove true belief.

            “The same holds with many of the Early Church Fathers.”

            And, we have heretic and apostate contemporaries that also suffered much.

            “Again, Ignatius of Antioch has no reason to lie about the three-fold distinction of polity he makes between the episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate. What did he get out of it? Chewed to death by lions that’s what! lol.”

            Neither did Clement (or Paul for that matter in Acts 20 and Phil 1) have reason to lie about the multiplicity of Bishops in each city.

            “The same logic holds for the Divinity of Jesus and his resurrection.”

            I have read, “The case for Christ” and similar apologetics. It’s very poor. argumentation. Four Gospels, probably written one after another years after an event, hardly provide “smoking gun proof.” Heck, we have literal videos of Hillary Clinton having seizures and we are not in full agreement about what is really occuring, let a lone stories told years, or even decades, later.

            “C.S. Lewis’s “liar, lunatic, or Lord” is still a fantastic argument that no one has substantially refuted.”

            Why? There are many liar false-Christs. THey came before Jesus and Gamalaiel speaks of them. There are many lunatics. Simon Magnus historically claimed to be a son of the gods and claimed the ability to levitate. And of course, Christ can be Lord (because He is), but the historical evidence is much more highly suggestive that He made stuff up, and His followers bought it and in turn made more stuff up. It happens all the time.

            ” I can make a very powerful case using reason alone that God exists,”

            This is true, though you won’t get much further than Deism.

            ” that Jesus is God,”

            Without presuppositionally accepting the Scripture is the word of God, no you probably cannot.

            ” and that He established a visible Church with the authority to speak in His name.”

            This too requires a presupposition about the Scripture and the acceptance of Christ as God, which I have shown, does not immediately strike anyone as true without accepting Scripture.

            “you tip your hand and reveal your fideism.”

            I am a misologist, so I suppose that term is accurate. Apart from experential knowledge which I cannot verify nor prove to anyone, I would have no reason to accept faith.

            “You admit quite frankly that you cannot be certain of any doctrine.”

            Inasmuch as it is not in the Scripture explictly, yes.

            “If the Catholic Church is right about itself, then certainty IS possible.”

            You simply moved the goal post. You presuppose the authority of the Roman Church. I can say, “I presuppose the Bible, as commonly accepted by Christians throughout history, and all things entirely consistent with this Bible, are true.” I can then draw a ton of conclusions, very similar to yours, without also presuppositionally accepting the Catholic Church. For example, I knew God is a Trinity the moment I first heard about it after I read the Bible for the first time? Why? Because the Bible clearly teaches the Trinity.

            ” So the Catholic paradigm is demonstrated to be superior to the sola scriptura paradigm…”

            It is certainly an easier, simpler paradigm, sure. But if you want an even better, and simpler paradigm, try Islam. The Quran, word for word in Arabic, is the word of Allah. The Quran is memorized by ton of people and it has little evidence of differences in manuscripts. Further, the Quran does not require the adherence to many complicated doctrines, but rather a pretty straight forward orthopraxy which is pretty much understandable to everyone.

            There’s a reason other than the sword that Islam holds such sway. It’s a cohesive system.

            I hope you feel I am not being too tough, I am just trying to defend presuppositionalism.

            God bless,

            Craig

          4. Hey Craig.

            Well from this last comment, it sounds like your inner atheist is very much alive. It sounds to me like your epistemology hasn’t changed at all from atheism to reformed Christianity which confirms my earlier statement about this epistemology being tied at the hip with Classical atheistic skepticism. You would make Hume and Kant proud. I’m curious as to what would it take to convince you otherwise? I’ll gladly say that if you can point to one official reversal of doctrine or morals in the Catholic Church, then in the words of GK Chesterton, “it’s all bosh.” This has definitely happened in reformed communities.

            This makes a lot of sense because so many atheists have this shell of skepticism that is nearly impossible to penetrate. All you have really done is swap one brand of relativism for another. I can just as easily presuppose Catholicism in it’s entirety and then our dialogue is completely pointless. You say:

            “the Apostles had very real, psychological reasons to lie. For one, they just lost their idol. One man’s wish projection of “seeing” the risen Christ could have caused a mass-delusional phenomena, or perhaps envy and other people willed themselves to see it.”

            You need to read the gospels again. The apostles where in no way expecting a physical resurrection of Jesus before the end of time. They packed it in and went home with their tail between their legs. Jesus’s resurrection caught them completely by surprise. There are way too many reasons why the “mass hallucination” theory doesn’t work. In fact, too many to go into now. I’ll simply link this fantastic video actually from a protestant (but not reformed) who does a great job on the Resurrection of Jesus. There are two parts:

            Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ErnJF_nwBk
            Part 2:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0iDNLxmWVM

            The Langston Hughes bit just shows that intense personal feelings are not a reliable epistemology. The Jehova’s witnesses don’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the apostles. It actually kind of upsets me that you would compare them in that regard. As far as heretics or buddhists are concerned, all your point would make is that, similarly to the apostles, they believe they are right. But that rules out intentional lying as a possibility. Of course the Arians thought they were right just as you think that reformed protestantism is right or I think that Catholicism is right. But their willingness to suffer and die for what they believed in does rule out intentional deception on their part.

            You say:

            “Neither did Clement (or Paul for that matter in Acts 20 and Phil 1) have reason to lie about the multiplicity of Bishops in each city.”

            Really quickly, we have multiple bishops in some dioceses now. This does not contradict a three fold distinction. You can have a “monarchical” episcopacy without a “monepiscopacy.” Monarchical is the Catholic requirement.

            You say:

            “I have read, “The case for Christ” and similar apologetics. It’s very poor. argumentation. Four Gospels, probably written one after another years after an event, hardly provide “smoking gun proof.” Heck, we have literal videos of Hillary Clinton having seizures and we are not in full agreement about what is really occuring, let a lone stories told years, or even decades, later.”

            I almost can’t believe I’m hearing a Christian say this. Unless you are playing uber devils advocate you can’t be serious. If you think the Gospels are not a reliable source of history then there’s not much I can do to help you. Studying history might as well not even be a thing. You say:

            “Why? There are many liar false-Christs. THey came before Jesus and Gamalaiel speaks of them. There are many lunatics. Simon Magnus historically claimed to be a son of the gods and claimed the ability to levitate. And of course, Christ can be Lord (because He is), but the historical evidence is much more highly suggestive that He made stuff up, and His followers bought it and in turn made more stuff up. It happens all the time.”

            Once again, if you can’t figure out the difference between Jesus Christ and Simon Magus through a historical examination of the Gospels/Acts, then you have a serious problem. Sure tons of people have claimed to be Divine but Jesus not only claimed to be Divine, but He performed miracles and walked out of His own tomb. You don’t have to presuppose the Divine inspiration of the Gospels to see that. It is truly baffling that you think the historical evidence of the Gospels suggests Jesus is a liar and the apostles are liars. Read them again.

            You say: “I am a misologist, so I suppose that term is accurate. Apart from experential knowledge which I cannot verify nor prove to anyone, I would have no reason to accept faith.”

            Then what exactly are you doing here Craig? Are you trying to convince us that reformed Christianity is true and Catholic Christianity is false? Are you making arguments to that effect? Why bother since, being a misologist, which literally means “hater of reason,” you distrust the reason and logic you are using to argue against Catholicism?! Do you expect that every Catholic should just all of a sudden “presuppose” that you’re right and we’re wrong? But your misology does have a strong protestant tradition what with Martin Luther calling reason a “whore” and a “tool of the devil.” Isaiah 1:18 says “Come now, let us REASON together.” Is that a waste of time?

            May God be with you.

            Matthew

          5. Matthew, no need for personal shots (inner atheist, etc.).

            Craig, I believe those Buddhist monks and Jehovah’s Witnesses are being honest when they sacrifice (and even die) for their faiths. They’re just making an honest mistake. (That is, you can be wrong and not be lying.)

          6. Matt,

            I would not agree that my epistemology (which I view as more defensible that yours) would make me an atheist, but you are entitled to your opinion.

            “I’m curious as to what would it take to convince you otherwise?”

            COnvince me of what specifically? The secular historicity of the resurrection? Probably additional ancient sources other than Josephus that do not have variations in the manuscript tradition. We have plenty of modern claimants to having raised people from the dead (https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS594US594&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=people+claimed+to+raise+from+the+dead)

            So, the usual is that we do not place high credibility on such claims without a very high level of scrutiny and cross-verification–especially when breaking the laws of nature is involved.

            ” I’ll gladly say that if you can point to one official reversal of doctrine or morals in the Catholic Church, then in the words of GK Chesterton, “it’s all bosh.” This has definitely happened in reformed communities.”

            Well, Catholics would never accept this and adapt their reasonings (i.e. “development of doctrine.”) We had Pope gregory the Great teach that the “apocrypha” (his words) are not Scripture. Surely, there has been a reversal on that. CHurch government has evolved from a plurality of presbyters/bishops to a monarchical espicopacy.
            “The apostles where in no way expecting a physical resurrection of Jesus before the end of time.”

            Again, that does not preclude a mass hysterical event and wish fulfillment. It only takes one guy, and other people can start essentially hallucinating.
            “Really quickly, we have multiple bishops in some dioceses now.”

            These cities are quite a bit larger than Philippi was in 60 AD.
            “I almost can’t believe I’m hearing a Christian say this…If you think the Gospels are not a reliable source of history then there’s not much I can do to help you.”

            From a secular, historical viewpoint they are not considered good history. The census of quinirius and the reign of Herod don’t match. The practice of Pontus Pilate releasing a single prisoner a year is unknown to the ancient world, Matthew claims that Zechariah son of Bereciah was killed in the temple (seemingly conflating two different Zechariahs), he claims a quote from Zechariah comes from Jeremiah…Plus we have events that seem to defy something that relates to our every day experiences–raisings from the dead, curing of diseases, walking on water, etcetera.

            Pretend, for a moment, you never heard of Christianity before and you are tasked to study a manuscript of an ancient religion. Would you hold this manuscript, with the above characteristics, to the same regard you would hold secular histories who facts have already been corroborated with other sources and archaeology?

            Now granted, I personally believe that there are explanations that may be devised in order to explain the above “discrepancies.” However, the reason we even go through the trouble of doing so (rather than simply laughing off the source material) is because we presuppositionally assume that the book comes from God in that it is Scripture, and if Scripture, it has to be true, no matter how unlikely.

            So, I honestly think you are not being honest with yourself. The historical case for Jesus inasmuch that He existed is good. Much beyond that, not so much appart from presuppositional apologetics.

            “Then what exactly are you doing here Craig?”

            Mainly, I am discussing what the historical source material says. I am aware of the limits of the conclusions you and I can draw, because of my epistemology (which I view to be the only intellectually defensible one.) However, I am not here to argue for an epistemology so I simply don’t bring it up.

            Everyone is a presuppositionalist. Whoever says he is not just does not know it yet.

            God bless,

            Craig

        2. “I pray for the humility to worship Him correctly”

          The virtue of true humility is the key to being a servant of God. Without it, we can study day and night for 100 years but still love and prefer our own souls, and minds, to God. The more we study, the more proud and separated from God we also might become…without humility. Satan is extremely intelligent, as well as a great apologist for Hell, such as is seen in both in the Garden of Eden as well as in the desert where Jesus Himself was tempted by Him with scripture. His great fault was lack of the virtue of humility.

          On the contrary, recall the first words of Mary which resulted in the incarnation of God into this world. An Archangel addressed her with an exceedingly honorable salutation of which Mary herself could not even understand. And she was actually agitated by this honorable greeting. This is a proof of her great humility and love for God: “And the angel being come in, said unto her. Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. [29] Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.”

          So, Craig, if every Christian strives and prays for humility as you are also praying for, they will be on the right road. They will even be in the process of imitating Jesus in this world, as He said:

          “Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls.” (Matt. 11:29)

        3. I can certainly relate to wanting to offer to God acceptable worship. As a traditional Roman Catholic It’s something that badgers my conscience now and again.

          My Recommendation: Pray for the virtue of Charity, and seek to make acts of Charity daily. I certainly need to.

          “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision: but faith that worketh by charity.” Galatians 5:6

          “He that loveth not, knoweth not God: for God is charity.” 1 John 4:8

          I must commend you on being one of the more kindly protestants that I’ve seen commenting on Catholic blogs before. Your presence on this blog is sincerely appreciated.

          Pax Domini

        4. Craig,

          ”The key thing that bothers me as a Protestant is the is my own capacity for self-deceit. So, even if I try my hardest to worship God correctly and according to correct doctrine, I can be analyzing wrong. I am simply not smart enough.”

          You describe a weakness that exists in us all. It is not unique to Protestantism.

          We would all certainly agree that God in His omniscience understands/understood this when Jesus decreed to St. Peter that the truth and wisdom of His church would reside in those chosen, and would be preserved from corruption by the constant guidance of Holy Spirit.

          Even in our human weakness we recognize the wisdom of this arrangement in our own less-permanent human institutions, We are not free to decide what is a crime and what isn’t. We rely on a central body to decide the truth in that regard. And we accept that arrangement because we created it.

          Knownig that humans will be misled, misguided, or moved even by unholy reasons, is it not logical that God would provide a structure for his church that would preserve His truth and correct those who challenge it? Of course, submission to a group of other humans, even those in direct succession to the apostles, requires that we surrender to something, and we humans don’t like to surrender to anything, especially something that tell us we can’t indulge in all of the various immoral activities that the world makes increasing available.

          Do we agree that the growing theological disparity among Protestants is rooted in the Protestant principle that we are all free individually to interpret Scripture in lieu of accepting an authoritative singular source? So the contrast is between a system, described by Jesus that creates a central theological authority overseen by the Holy Spirit with a promise of preservation, and that of a system which is subject in every instance to the intellectual fragility of each participant.

          Which system, by its structure is most likely create and promote a unity among Christians that reflects the unity between Father and Son?

    2. Craig,

      You remain a very fresh type of protestant. Though obviously there are still disagreements between you and Catholics, I wish more Protestants saw their own biases as you are able to, and nuance their positions better.

      God Bless

  5. I grew up Protestant and technically still qualify that way, but I’ve had Roman Catholic friends. Speaking in terms of growing up Protestant (in a segment that thinks the Deuterocanon is apocryphal—not all Protestants do, which you have ignored), there is interest in the apocryphal books but difficulty in finding them even if you want to read them.

    Discussions do happen about “Hey, uh, Esther doesn’t meet those criteria,” but they’re quickly shunted into, “Oh, well, those men who figured this out had a whole lot more training and experience than we do, and our history and tradition supports it.”

    Nobody ever seems to notice that their emphasis on cherrypicked history and traditions (whichever are valued by their particular theological circle) is the one of the things for which they condemn the Roman Catholics and occasionally the Eastern/Greek Orthodox. (I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone mention the Oriental Orthodox.)

    Anyway, in my experience, if you do read or study the apocrypha and actually want to discuss the,…good luck with that, especially if you’re a girl. When I was in high school, I borrowed a friend’s Roman Catholic Bible to read Esther, tried to get my hands on more and have some discussions about it with other Protestants, and there was a lot of pressure, much of it indirect or covert, to stop and shut up—

    But that pressure to avoid discussing double standards isn’t a Protestant thing. It’s a human thing. It happens on all sorts of topics, and it boils down to people not wanting to question their assumptions. Assumptions make things easier. Sometimes it’s a matter of pride, where someone doesn’t want to be wrong, but sometimes it’s a matter of trust in another or even safety, where there will be retaliation if someone steps out. (It can seriously be dangerous for people to rock the boat, on multiple levels. This can be true in any subculture.)

    Pointing out flaws in specific arguments is useful, and thank you for reminding me that I want to sit down and make a study of those books. You just might want to watch out for false cause and hasty generalizations, when spotlighting double standards on whatever topic. 🙂

  6. Haydock says
    Ver. 2. Gavest him a sword, &c. The justice of God is here praised, in punishing by the sword of Simeon the crime of the Sichemites: and not the fact of Simeon, which was justly condemned by his father, Genesis xlix. 5. Though even with regard to this fact, we may distinguish between his zeal against the crime committed by the ravishers of his sister, which zeal may be considered just: and the manner of his punishing that crime, which was irregular and excessive. (Challoner) — The former is here commended. (Worthington) (Menochius) — Yet Simeon was not blameless. God put the sword into his hand as he makes use of tyrants; in which sense Nabuchodonosor is styled his servant, Jeremias xxv. 9., Ezechiel xxix. 18., and Genesis xxxiv. 2, 25.

  7. First of all http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/deut.html#St. Gregory the Great, Pope, [590-604, A.D.] first of all part of the book was written before becoming Pope, secondly the way he uses the word canonical might be different.

    And as for the episopate it seems to have always been the same also why do you think Phillipi had multiple bishops also the words for priest and bishop were used interchangeably.

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