A Compendium of Reformation Resources

Jason Engwer, whom I've had the honor of associating over the last half dozen years, has done a tremendous amount of reading and writing on Reformation topics, which he has shared generously, first through his ministry with NTRMin.org, and now with Triablogue.

Each year for Reformation Day (October 31), Jason has posted a selection that reminds us what a great and tremendous event the Reformation truly was. This year, he has done so again, along with a topical list of resources on various points of Roman Catholicism that still resist any attempt at reforming them.

Triablogue: The Historical Roots Of The Reformation And Evangelicalism

Thanks again Jason!

A brief history of the Reformation Solas

At the Heidelblog.

A comparison of Eucharistic theologies



A couple of classics

James White on Honorius and Development.

A Critique of Newman's Theory on Development of Doctrine

Found here:
My own reasons for not becoming Roman Catholic have not changed. It was precisely the problem of doctrinal development that I found unsatisfactory. I believe that J. B. Mozley's The Theory of Development provides the decisive critique of [John Henry] Newman on development of doctrine. Mozley argues that Newman commits a logical fallacy of amphibole by not distinguishing between two different kinds of development. Newman is correct that there is genuine development in the early church. For example, Nicea's doctrine of the homoousios, or the Trinity as formulated by the Cappadocians, or the Chalcedonian formula of the incarnation as one person and two natures is not found explicitly in the New Testament.

At the same time, however, what is in the New Testament is all the data that make the homoousios, the Trinitarian formula of three persons and one substance, and the Chalcedonian formula necessary conclusions. So, for example, the New Testament is clear that Jesus Christ is not only human, but fully divine. He is the Word who was "with God" and "was God" and was "made flesh" (John 1:1,14). Passages that apply to YHWH in the Old Testament are quoted as referring to Jesus in the New Testament (Phil. 2:10-11; Heb. 1:8). Jesus is the One through whom the Father created the world (Col. 1:16). He is God's wisdom (Col. 2:3), and the "fullness of deity dwells bodily" in him (Col. 2:9).

To the question whether the New Testament teaches that Jesus is fully God, the answer must be "yes."

Similarly, to the question whether there is one God, and yet three who are identified as God--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--the answer is also "yes."

So the "development" of incarnational and Trinitarian doctrine that takes place at Nicea, Chalcedon, etc., is really simply the necessary logical unfolding of what is already clearly present in the New Testament. If Jesus is fully God, then he must "of the same substance" as God. If the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are equally God, and yet there is only one God, then God must be three persons in one nature.

Karl Barth began the contemporary revival of Trinitarian theology in his Church Dogmatics 1/1 by articulating the principle that God must be in himself who he is in his revelation. If God has revealed himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the history of revelation, then God must be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in himself. The economic Trinity necessarily implies the immanent Trinity.

In Bernard Lonergan's The Way to Nicea, he makes a similar point by distinguishing between common sense realism and critical realism. The genre of the New Testament writings is that of common sense realism. The New Testament uses the language of symbol and narrative to tell of how God relates to us in Jesus. The language of Nicea is the language of critical realism. Nicea speaks of who the Son of God must be in himself if he is going to be God for us.

Mozley speaks of this kind of development in terms of what I will call "Development 1." Development 1 adds nothing to the original content of faith, but rather brings out its necessary implications. Mozley says that Aquinas is doing precisely this kind of development in his discussion of the incarnation in the Summa Theologiae.

There is another kind of development, however, which I will call "Development 2." Development 2 is genuinely new development that is not simply the necessary articulation of what is said explicitly in the Scriptures.

Classic examples of Development 2 would include the differences between the doctrine of the theotokos and the dogmas of the immaculate conception or the assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the former, Marian dogma is not actually saying something about Mary, but rather something about Christ. If Jesus Christ is truly God, and Mary is his mother, then Mary is truly the Mother of God (theotokos). She gives birth, however, to Jesus' humanity, not his eternal person, which has always existed and is generated eternally by the Father. The doctrine of the theotokos is a necessary implication of the incarnation of God in Christ, which is clearly taught in the New Testament. However, the dogmas of the immaculate conception and the assumption are not taught in Scripture, either implicitly or explicitly. They are entirely new developments.

The same would be true, of course, for the doctrine of the papacy. The New Testament says much about the role of Simon Peter as a leader of the apostles. It does not say anything explicit, however, about the bishop of Rome being the successor to Peter. The Eastern fathers, e.g., Cyprian, interpret the Petrine passages that Rome has applied to the papacy as applying to all bishops.

Other examples of Development 2 would include purgatory and indulgences.

Newman presents his argument for development as a dilemma. Anglicans (and Protestants in general) accept the dogmas of Nicea, of the Trinity, of Chalcedon, etc., but these are not taught explicitly in Scripture. They are developments. But Anglicans do not accept the doctrines of the papacy, the Marian dogmas, etc., which are also developments. Anglicans are accordingly inconsistent. To accept one development is logically to accept the others as well.

Mozley's response is that Newman conflates two quite distinct kinds of development. Development 1 adds nothing new to the content of faith. Development 2 does. Accepting Development 1 is a necessary consequence of taking seriously what the New Testament actually says. Development 2, however, adds something genuinely new to the content of faith. Nicea is an example of Development 1, not Development 2. The infallibility of the papacy is an example of Development 2, not Development 1. Accepting Development 1 does not logically entail accepting Development 2. By not distinguishing between the two kinds of development, Newman commits a logical fallacy, and his argument collapses.

I do think Mozley's critique of Newman is correct.


A Simple Explanation

I said: The way I have put it in the past is, "at first, everyone just wanted to high-tail it out of Rome. That was the first mission. Once they got going, they found out they were going in different directions." I really think that is a good way of putting it.

The response came back:
To begin with, it's not so much the Reformation that enabled such things. Rather, when the Church of Rome lost her temporal power over time, she could no longer coercive people to tow the party line. The Inquisition required backing by the state. The status quote ante represented an artificial unity, like Communist countries when most folks, including most party members, no longer believed in Marxism, but had to pay lip service to Marxism for fear of reprisal (Siberian exile, gulags) lest they voice their doubts.

Why is the development of an Osteen or Hinn or Joseph Smith supposed to be alarming? Sure, if they were living in the Middle Ages, they would be nominal Catholics. But that just goes to show that, for many, Catholicism was a default belief in the absence of any alternative, for better or worse. What kind of faith is that? To believe in something merely because it's the only thing you've ever heard of? And even then, it was only by force of law that everyone more or less went along with official dogma during the Middle Ages.

Likewise, we had false teachers infecting the NT churches, why so many NT letters are directed against false teachers. We have NT prophecies about the rise of false teachers. So how are false teachers like Osteen or Hinn or Smith an alarming development? Isn't that to be expected?
I like the simplicity of this explanation.


The Papacy that Luther Contended With

Silvestro Mazzolini, usually named Sylvester Prierias, was a member of the Roman Commission entrusted with introducing canonical proceedings against Luther in the spring of 1518. He composed the Dialogus as an expert opinion for the commission in the spring of 1518, and may have submitted it [to whom?] as early as April or May 1518. On August 7, 1518, Luther received the Dialogus together with the summons to defend himself in person at Rome on suspicion of heresy. The Dialogus, obviously, cannot be regarded as a particularly brilliant theological treatise on the papacy. (From "Martin Luther's Theology, Its Historical and Systematic Development," Bernhard Lohse, Fortress Press p. 107).
Now, here you have "a member of the Roman Commission," selected to introduce canonical proceedings against Luther. This is an "expert opinion" we are talking about. Continuing:

Still, as evidence of the view then dominant in Rome and of the aggravation it caused in Luther's dispute, it has a significance scarecely to be overestimated. Here we see how those who set the tone at Rome thought of the church and the papal office, above all what they had to find fault with in Luther.

Prierias opened with four basic propositions concerning the church that formed the basis of his debate with Luther:

(1) the entire church as to its essence (essentialiter) is the gathering of all believers in Christ for worship. The entire church ast to its power (virtualiter), however, is the Roman church, the head of all churches, and the pope. The Roman church as to its representation (repraesentative) is the college of cardinals, but as to its power (virtualiter) the pope, in a manner different, of course, from Christ. (2) As the entire church cannot err when it decides concerning faith or morals, so also a true council, when it does what it can to understand the truth, cannot err, at least not in the end result (finaliter)--and I take this to include the head [the pope]. For even a council can initially be deceived, so long as the process of searching for the truth goes on. Yes, sometimes a council has been deceived, though it has finaly recognized the truthwith the hep of the Holy Spirit. Likewise also the Roman church and the pope cannot err when he hands down a decision in his capacity as pope, that is, when he makes use of his office and does what is in his power to know the truth. (3) Whoever does not hold to the doctrine of the Roman church and to the pope as the infallible rule of faith, from which also Holy Scripture derives its power and authority, is a heretic.

In the final proposition (no. 4), the meaning of "what is customary" is identified with decisions of the church. Then this follows as a corollary: "Whoever says of indulgences that the Roman Church cannot do what it actually does, is a heretic." The four propositions are teh basis for Prierias's subsequent debate with each of Luther's Ninety-five Theses.

Prierias not only represented the view of infallibility to which some gave expression toward the close of the Middle Ages, but with his third proposition actually set the Roman church over Scripture. [He could not have done this if it were not actually believed this way, at a high and even official level.] Moreover, in the corollary he described as heretical all opposition, even opposition to the Roman practice of indulgences. The Roman standpoint in the matter of indulgences could not have been more one-sidedly and pointedly maintained.

When Luther was made aware of the Dialogus, he was convinced that the pope was the antichrist. If in the composition of the Ninety-five Theses scriptural and papal authority had merely been in tension, now they were irreconcilably opposed. Obviously, on the basis of the Dialogus, Luther arrived at the conviction that pope and councils could err. (Lohse, pgs. 107-109.)


"The Active Obedience of Christ"

Turretinfan (I know I didn't spell that the way he spells it) posted a very fine piece about the need for "the active obedience of Christ."

The proverbial "Good Samaritan" may feel warm and fuzzy after helping out his neighbour, but even the Good Samaritan is simply doing that which God commands. Thus, even the best mere man who most perfectly loves God and his neighbor can only hope to have a very small number of sins on his account: he can never hope to have anything more than debt to God.

Because of this principle, there is only one source of merit. To use a timely analogy, there is only one $700 Billion bailout plan. That one source of merit is Jesus Christ, the righteous. Jesus perfectly obeyed the law of God, thereby earning (under the covenant of works) life. Nevertheless, Jesus sacrificed that life to suffer punishment in place of sinners: punishment he did not personally deserve.

This bailout plan is not a redistribution of wealth from workers to bankers, but is instead redemption for slaves. Even the best mere man is a sinner in God's sight, deserving wrath and hell forever. Christ, by dying redeemed for himself a people out of all parts of the world.


"Speak Your Mind"

I wanted to second a thought provided by James Swan.

There is also the problem of Catholic apologetic double standards. The Catholic apologists assume Trent was following the tradition of the church, and there was no teaching of "faith alone" previous to Luther. In other words, Luther invented "justification by faith alone." It didn't exist until Luther. It can't be verified in church history. It can't be true. On the other hand, when the same historical standard is applied to certain Catholic dogmas, like Mary's Bodily Assumption, Purgatory, Indulgences, etc., this same historical standard is swept under the rug and hidden. One has to seriously question why a standard that Catholic apologists hold Protestants to is not likewise applied to their own beliefs. Wade through the corridors of church history and search for the threads of all Catholic dogma. One falls flat of linking many of them back to the early church, or in some instances, even the Bible.