“Unless I am deceived…”

Decades after Nicæa, Alexandria was still located within the Diocese of Oriens.
Decades after Nicæa, Alexandria was still located within the Diocese of Oriens.

Last week we addressed the portion of Canon 6 of Nicæa which has for many centuries been used by Roman Catholic apologists to advance the case for Roman primacy. Their argument is based on one of the most pervasive myths in the history of ecclesiology. The text of Canon 6 refers to a “similar custom” regarding the Bishop of Rome, and uses that “similar custom” as the basis for recognizing the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan of Alexandria within the three specified provinces of Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis. As we discussed in last week’s article, the problem facing the council of Nicæa was that under Diocletian’s reorganization of the empire in 293 A.D., the Metropolitans of Alexandria and Antioch were located within a single civil diocese—the Diocese of Oriens, or “the East.” Diocletian’s arrangement made it impossible for the council simply to define Metropolitan jurisdiction in diocesan terms. To do so would have perpetuated the very problem the council was attempting to solve.

As we showed last week, the “similar custom” with reference to the Bishop of Rome was quite clear: the Bishop of Rome functioned as a Metropolitan within the greater Diocese of Italy, of which Milan was the chief Metropolitan seat. Just as the Bishop of Rome had carved out a small portion of the Diocese of Italy, within which portion he exercised provincial Metropolitan authority, the Bishop of Alexandria had done the same in the Diocese of the East, administering only the portion of the diocese assigned to him. That way Milan and Antioch would each remain the chief Metropolitans of their respective Dioceses, while Rome and Alexandria would function within each diocese, exercising provincial metropolitan authority. That was the “similar custom” with reference to the Bishop of Rome.

Sometime between the Council of Nicæa (325 A.D.) and the Council of Constantinople (381 A.D.), the Diocese of the East was split in two. Under that new arrangement, Alexandria became the chief Metropolitan seat of the newly created Diocese of Egypt, and Antioch remained the chief Metropolitan seat of the now much smaller Diocese of the East (Diocecis Orientis). Thus, while the Council of Nicæa had identified Alexandria’s jurisdiction in provincial terms, i.e., “Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis” (Council of Nicæa, Canon 6), the later formation of the Diocese of Egypt made it possible for Alexandria’s jurisdiction to be defined in strictly diocesan terms at the Council of Constantinople, i.e., “the bishop of Alexandria is to administer affairs in Egypt only” (Council of Constantinople, Canon 2).

That division of Diocesis Orientis would certainly have taken place later than 347 A.D. when Athanasius was compiling his Apologia Contra Arianos. In that Apologia, Athanasius was still using the provincial language of Nicæa to define the limits of his jurisdiction. This he did multiple times.

When describing the assembled bishops who had acquitted him at Alexandria, he referred to the “more than three hundred Bishops, out of the provinces of Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis, Palestine, Arabia,” etc… (Athanasius, Apologia Contra Arianos, Part I, chapter 1, paragraph 1). Later, he refers to “our fellow-ministers in Libya, Pentapolis, and Egypt” (Athanasius, Apologia Contra Arianos, Part I, chapter 1, paragraph 19). And again, “There are in Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis, nearly one hundred Bishops; none of whom laid anything to my charge;” (Athanasius, Apologia Contra Arianos, Part II, chapter 6, paragraph 71). Most notably, Athanasius retains that provincial language of Nicæa to describe his jurisdiction even when he lists other bishops by their respective dioceses:

“[T]here is also the great Hosius, together with the Bishops of [the diocese of] Italy, and of [the diocese of] Gaul, and others from [the diocese of] Spain, and from [the provinces of] Egypt, and Libya, and all those from Pentapolis” (Athanasius, Apologia Contra Arianos, Part II, chapter 6, paragraph 89).

Thus, the final division of Oriens into two dioceses would have taken place later than Nicæa. Decades later.

But that division would have taken place prior to the Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D., by which time the provincial language had disappeared and was replaced with the diocesan description of “Egypt only.” The Synodical Letter from the Council of Constantinople records that Flavian of Antioch had been ordained Metropolitan bishop over “the diocese of the East” (Council of Constantinople, Synodical Letter), while the Canons identify Alexandria as the chief Metropolis of the Diocese of Egypt (Council of Constantinople, Canon 2). We suspect that the creation of the Diocese of Egypt may even be placed prior to 374 A.D., because Jerome lived there at that time, and yet seemed to be unaware that the boundaries of Oriens had ever been any different than what they were at the Council of Constantinople.

Jerome lived in Antioch, or in the nearby desert, from 374 to 380 A.D.. He had been ordained by Paulinas, Bishop of Antioch during that time, and then attended the Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D. (Schaff, Prelegomena to Jerome, section II: Contemporary History). He therefore would have been familiar with the workings of the Diocese of Oriens, aware of Paulinas’ metropolitan jurisdiction and knowledgeable of the canonical language of Constantinople.

But the several changes since Diocletian—the civil reorganization of the empire into dioceses, the recent creation of the Diocese of Egypt, and the subtle shift in terminology between the two councils—left Jerome not a little confused as he attempted to reconstruct the acts of Nicæa.

That the Bishop of Antioch currently had the whole Diocecis Orientis assigned to him was clear enough to Jerome. Under the current arrangement, Antioch had the whole Diocese of the East, and Alexandria had the whole newly created Diocese of Egypt. At the time of Nicæa, however, the two had still been one single diocese, Diocecis Orientis, and neither the Bishop of Antioch nor the Bishop of Alexandria had the whole diocese assigned to him. Jerome’s confusion arose because he was reading Nicæa through the lens of the late fourth century, instead of through the lens of the early fourth century. On that account, Jerome erroneously believed that Nicæa had granted to Antioch jurisdiction over the whole diocese of the East—the very thing Nicæa could not, and did not, do.

We find Jerome’s mistake in the account of his dispute with John of Jerusalem in 398 A.D.. In the heat of the argument, John had appealed to Alexandria for help. Jerome believed that the appeal was judicially out of order, since each diocese was to manage its own affairs. According to Nicæa, Jerome reasoned, a bishop in the Diocese of Egypt had no authority to speak on a dispute taking place in the Diocese of the East:

“A question is put to you in Palestine, your answer is given in Egypt.  … you are silent, dare not open your lips, and, challenged in Palestine, speak at Alexandria.  … You, who ask for ecclesiastical rules, and make use of the canons of the Council of Nicæa, and claim authority over clerics who belong to another diocese and are actually living with their own bishop, answer my question, What has Palestine to do with the bishop of Alexandria?” (Jerome, To Pammachius Against John of Jerusalem, paragraphs 4, 10 and 37)

In Jerome’s thinking, the dispute was between two bishops within the same diocese and therefore ought to have been handled entirely within in the Diocese of the East; the Diocese of Egypt should have stayed out of it. “Unless I am deceived,” Jerome continued, the canons of Nicæa had dealt with the jurisdiction of a Metropolis, and had assigned to Antioch “the whole East,” or in Latin “totius Orientis” (Jerome, Contra Joannem, Migne, Patrologia Latina, v. 23 col. 389). For this reason, John’s “letters ought rather to be addressed to Antioch” than to Alexandria (Jerome, To Pammachius Against John of Jerusalem, paragraph 37).

Jerome was correct on the matter of Metropolitan jurisdiction, and the fact that John should not have appealed outside of the diocese. But Jerome was wrong in his reconstruction of Canon 6 of Nicæa. As we noted last week, the council could not assign the “whole Diocese of the East” to Antioch for the simple reason that Alexandria was at that time located within the very same diocese. The Diocese of Egypt had not even been created yet, which was the very reason Nicæa could define neither Antiochian nor Alexandrian jurisdiction in diocesan terms. Instead of assigning “the whole East” to either metropolis, the council had simply described Alexandrian jurisdiction in terms of the provinces of “Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis,” and left the rest of the diocese to Antioch. Jerome’s reconstruction of Canon 6 was in fact the very opposite of what Nicæa had done. The council had not assigned “the whole East” to Antioch at all.

The cause of Jerome’s mistake is simple enough to discern. By the time of Jerome’s letter against John of Jerusalem, the Diocese of Egypt was now firmly established, as were the now smaller boundaries of the Diocese of the East. Jerome’s perception of Nicæa was dictated by the new order. But Nicæa’s canons had been written under the old. Nicæa’s delicate handling of Alexandrian authority within Diocecis Orientis was therefore completely lost on Jerome, and he was in fact deceived by his own anachronism.

The acute anachronism of Jerome nevertheless became the foundation of later claims of Roman Primacy based on Nicæa. If Jerome was not even aware of the significance of the recent civil reorganization, the problem would be much worse for later historians trying to reconstruct the period. The creation of the Diocese of Egypt was recorded in the Notitia Dignitatum, a late fourth or early fifth century Roman administrative document. But that Notitia Dignitatum lay hidden in obscurity until the 16th century, at which time multiple commentaries from various authors began to expound upon its contents.

Due to the obscurity in which the fourth century diocesan reorganization lay hidden for more than a thousand years, confusion over the geographic implications of the Nicæan canons continued to propagate. This resulted in the acute anachronisms committed by such learned historians as Justellus in 1671 and Hefele in 1855. Both of these men erroneously interpreted Canon 6 of Nicæa to grant to Alexandria authority over “the whole Diocese of Egypt,” the very thing Nicæa could not possibly do. Both men, like Jerome, assumed that the Diocese of Egypt had already existed at the time of the council.

Justellus explained the significance of Canon 6 as follows:

“Haec ἐξουσία est potestas Metropolitani, quam Nicaeni Patres decernunt deberi in tribus provinciis hoc Canone denominatis, Aegypto, Libya, & Pentapoli, quae totam Aegyptiacam diœcesim constituebant tam in civilibus quam Ecclesiasticus.”

“This ἐξουσία is the power of the Metropolitan, which the Nicene Fathers decreed was to be exercised in the three provinces identified in the Canon as, Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis, which constituted the whole diocese of Egypt, both civil and ecclesiastical.” (Gulielmi Voelli & Henrici Justellus, Bibliotheca Iuris Canonici Veteris, Tome 1 (Lutetiæ Parisorum, 1671) 71, cols. 1-2)

Hefele explained the significance of the canon in similar terms:

“Die ersten Worte unseres Canons besagen sonach: ‘dem Bischof von Alexandrien soll sein altes Borrecht, wonach die ganze (burgerliche) Diocese Aegypten unter seiner (geistlichen) Oberleitung steht, bestatigt werden.’ “

“The first Words of our Canon therefore say: ‘the Bishop of Alexandria according to this ancient privilege, whereupon the whole (civil) Diocese of Egypt is under his (spiritual) jurisdiction, is confirmed.” (Carl Joseph Von Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, 2d ed., (Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, 1855) 390).

The problem with both men’s anachronistic interpretations, as we have described above, is quite simple: the Diocese of Egypt did not exist at the time of the Council of Nicæa. The Council could no more assign to Alexandria the charge of a nonexistent “Diocese of Egypt,” than it could assign “totius Orientis” to Antioch when half the diocese was being governed from Alexandria.

This anachronism of Jerome, Justellus and Hefele came to its head in 1880 with what is now considered to be the gold standard regarding claims of papal primacy at Nicæa. Based on the same anachronism, Fr. James F. Loughlin in his article, The Sixth Nicene Canon and the Papacy, argued that the meaning of Canon 6 of Nicæa was as simple as it was profound. Metropolitan jurisdictions are assigned at the diocesan level “because the Roman Pontiff wishes it”:

“Therefore, the clause in question can bear no other interpretation than this: ‘Alexandria and the other great Sees must retain their ancient sway because the Roman Pontiff wishes it.’ ” (James F. Loughlin, The Sixth Nicene Canon and the Papacy, American Catholic Quarterly Review, vol. 5, January to October 1880, (Philadelphia, PA: Hardy & Mahony, 1880) 230)

But Loughlin had come to his conclusion based on the same gross anachronism of Jerome, Justellus and Hefele. He assumed that Alexandria was not located within the Diocese of Oriens at the time of the Council of Nicæa. Therefore he assumed that Nicæa had assigned to Antioch totius Orientis, the whole Diocese of Oriens—the very thing Nicæa could not, and did not, do. Loughlin argued,

“The Bishop of Alexandria had been, from time immemorial, every inch a patriarch throughout his vast domain. The Bishop of Antioch enjoyed a similar authority throughout the great diocese of Oriens. Their jurisdiction was immediate and ordinary, and there is no difficulty in defining its nature and the limits within which it was exercised.” (Loughlin, 237)

But that assumption was wrong. The Bishop of Antioch did not exercise his authority “throughout the great diocese of Oriens” for the very simple reason that the Bishop of Alexandria was located within that same “great diocese,” and was currently exercising authority there, too. That is precisely why the Council was presented with the difficulty of defining the nature and limits of their respective jurisdictions. For Loughlin to make such an assertion shows that he had missed the very issue at the heart of Canon 6—the problem of two Metropolitans residing in a single civil diocese. That was the reason their domain had to be defined in provincial rather than diocesan terms in the first place.

Missing the reason Antiochian jurisdiction could not be defined by the borders of Oriens, and missing the reason Alexandrian jurisdiction had to be defined in provincial rather than diocesan terms, Loughlin rushes forward to his conclusion. If Alexandrian authority over the Diocese of Egypt was based on a custom from Rome, it must be because diocesan territories were assigned to Metropolitan bishops at the pleasure and prerogative of the Pope.

This is where the ancient myth based on Canon 6 pays its fraudulent dividends to history. If it can simply be assumed that the boundaries of Oriens at Nicæa (325 A.D.) were the same as they were at Constantinople (381 A.D.)—and if Protestants can be made to adopt that assumption—all that remains is for Protestants to try to explain why Nicæa would invoke a Roman custom to validate Alexandrian jurisdiction within the Diocese of Egypt. In fact, that is precisely the trap into which Phillip Schaff fell as he explained the meaning of Canon 6 from a Protestant perspective.

In his analysis of Canon 6, Schaff recognized that while the limits of Alexandria’s jurisdiction were described explicitly, the limits of Antioch’s were not. How then could we know the limits of Antiochian jurisdiction at Nicæa? Here Schaff makes the critical mistake of looking to the Council of Constantinople to determine what the boundaries of the Diocese of Oriens would have been at Nicæa. That was Jerome’s error too, the very cause of the anachronism which we have elucidated above. After explaining Alexandrian jurisdiction from Canon 6 of Nicæa, Schaff continued, appealing to Constantinople to determine the boundaries of Oriens at Nicæa:

“There only remains to see what were the bounds of the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Antioch. The civil diocese of Oriens is shown by the Second Canon of Constantinople to be conterminous with what was afterward called the Patriarchate of Antioch.” (Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 2, vol 14, The Seven Ecumenical Councils, Nicæa, Canon VI)

For the reasons we have highlighted above, the Council of Constantinople is precisely the wrong place to look for knowledge of the limits of the Diocese of Oriens at Nicæa. The fact is that the boundaries of the Diocese had changed between the two councils, and to overlook that fact is to miss the meaning of Canon 6. Schaff adopts the anachronism outright, explaining that under Constantine, both the Diocese of Oriens and the Diocese of Egypt were already in existence (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, § 54. Organization of the Hierarchy, n488). On this basis, Schaff then proceeds with his interpretation of Canon 6:

“The ancient custom, which has obtained in Egypt, Libya, and  the Pentapolis, shall continue in force, viz.: that the bishop of Alexandria have rule over all these [provinces], since this also is customary with the bishop of Rome (that is, not in Egypt, but with reference to his own diocese).” (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, § 56. Synodical Legislation on the Patriarchal Power and Jurisdiction).

But neither the Bishop of Rome, nor the Bishop of Alexandria had “his own diocese.”

The way Schaff interpreted the Canon plays right into the hands of Rome. If Canon 6 assigns to Alexandria the whole Diocese of Egypt, the Protestant rendering of the canon reads as if the Bishop of Alexandria rules the Diocese of Egypt because the Bishop of Rome, too, has his own diocese. To this, Loughlin very properly responds that the context simply does not call for such a rendering. If it were in the mind of the Council to invoke a relevant illustration, and if the Diocese of Egypt already existed, then the bishops should have invoked Antioch instead of Rome, for Antioch provided the more relevant, more proximate, illustration. Loughlin reasons in just this way:

“If, therefore, the Council had ‘illustrated the sort of power,’ which it accorded to the Bishop of Alexandria, ‘by referring to a similar power exercised by the’ Bishop of Antioch, then the term of comparison would be clearly intelligible; because both were patriarchs, with pretty much the same sort of power and the same extent of territory.” (Loughlin, 237)

We agree here with Loughlin: if his anachronism were valid, and if the Diocese of Egypt already existed at Nicæa, then invoking the Roman custom as the basis for Alexandrian jurisdiction within the Diocese of Egypt makes the canon frankly unintelligible. Roman Catholicism then thinks to step in to clear it all up with Papal Primacy.

And here we can see the value of the ancient Roman myth regarding Canon 6. Loughlin proceeds to extract from the myth all 1500 years of its returns at once. Noting that among all the four bishops mentioned in Canons 6 and 7—in Alexandria, Rome, Antioch and Jerusalem—Loughlin observes that Rome’s is the only one whose boundaries are not listed, for “who has ever defined satisfactorily the limits and nature of Rome’s patriarchal sway?”  (Loughlin, 237). Thus, to Loughlin, Canon 6 represents “the very first utterance by the Universal Church on the subject of the prerogatives of the Bishop of Rome” (Loughlin, 222). There is the payout on the myth: if the Diocese of Egypt was already in existence at the time of Nicæa, then the appeal to the Roman custom in Canon 6 may plausibly pass for an appeal to Roman Primacy and the universal “patriarchal sway” of a Pope who assigns dioceses to their Metropolitans.

But it is just a myth. There was no Diocese of Egypt at the time of Nicæa, and for this reason Antioch did not enjoy “authority throughout the great diocese of Oriens,” and the Council had not assigned “the whole Diocese of Egypt” to Alexandria on the basis of a custom in Rome.

The Council had not invoked the Roman custom to illustrate Alexandrian jurisdiction within the Diocese of Egypt. The council had invoked the Roman custom to illustrate Alexandrian jurisdiction within the Diocese of Oriens, for both Alexandria and Antioch were located within the same civil diocese.

That was the whole point of the canon, and from this we can see clearly what Alexandria and Rome had in common, and why the Roman custom was relevant in the matter of Alexandrian jurisdiction in Oriens: Milan was the chief Metropolitan seat of the Diocese of Italy, and yet Rome exercised provincial Metropolitan authority within that diocese by carving out a portion of it. Just so, Antioch was the chief Metropolitan seat of the Diocese of Oriens, and yet Alexandria exercised provincial Metropolitan authority within that diocese by carving out a portion of it. That is exactly what Nicæa recognized and decreed.

Because the Bishop of Rome and the Bishop of Alexandria each resided within civil dioceses of which neither was the chief Metropolitan, both had to define their jurisdictions in provincial rather than diocesan terms. That was the similar custom with reference to the Bishop of Rome, and it spoke not of Papal primacy but rather in diminutive terms of Rome’s limited “patriarchal sway.” All of that is lost in the fog of history if Rome is allowed to retain her precious assumption that the Diocese of Egypt had already been formed at the time of Nicæa, and that the council had granted to Antioch “the whole Diocese of Oriens.”

We of course are not surprised to find Rome attempting to reach back to Nicæa to find ancient evidence for her late fourth century novelties. This we have seen from her repeatedly. We are also not surprised to find that the best case Rome can make for Roman primacy at Nicæa is founded upon a grotesque anachronism that requires us to accept a historical impossibility: the existence of the Diocese of Egypt at the time of Nicæa.

Rome’s apologists, and yes even our Protestant brethren, can be excused for being deceived by an ancient anachronism, an error of such magnitude and antiquity that it passes for an inviolable “truth” of history. But as Loughlin correctly observes in his article, “An error, be it ever so common, is an error still” (Loughlin, 223). And a deception, be it ever so antiquated, is a deception still.

On that note, we will allow Loughlin to close out this week’s article for us, so profoundly accurate is his statement about the proper study of Canon 6:

“Now if we sincerely desire to know what the Council really said, we must first of all discard translations and comments, and allow the canon to speak for itself. The endless controversies which our canon has given rise would, in great part at least, have been avoided if this course had been pursued. Indeed, one of the main objects of this paper is to convince theological students, by an apt illustration, how necessary it is to study ecclesiastical documents in their authentic source and original dress of language.” (Loughlin, 222-23)

Yes, a very apt illustration indeed. Modern Roman Catholic claims of Papal primacy at Nicæa are founded upon a myth that is easily dispelled with the study of ecclesiastical documents, authentic sources and the council’s “original dress of language.” That council knew nothing of Roman primacy.

In fact, “the very first utterance by the Universal Church on the subject of the prerogatives of the Bishop of Rome” was that his jurisdiction was as limited in Italy as Alexandria’s was in Oriens. He had no civil diocese of his own, and was a provincial Metropolitan, nothing more.

And every bishop gathered at Nicæa knew it.

43 thoughts on ““Unless I am deceived…””

  1. Week after week we read facts, evidence and excellent analysis.

    Now we will see Jim come through screaming about penal substitution and some “calvinist” called James White debate (e.g., engage in constant sinful debate) a host of false religions (including Roman Catholics and Arminians) totally off point with nearly every article posted here.


      1. bla bla bla…once you learn how to read and think I would be far more interested to respond to you in the future. I’ve read your foolishness on this site for so long it is purely a waste of time to respond to you. I’m surprised Tim still does after reading your comments about him and his responses to you. There is no biblical warrant to encourage sinful activity that even responding causes you to engage in. Best thing to do is ignore you and pray you go away to another blog.

  2. By the way, it was not endorsed at the Council of Nicaea. No more than Limited Atonement or any other Calvinist doctrine was.

  3. Walt,
    Tim has devoted his life to debunking the Catholic faith. Yet he has not ever advanced arguments for his own position.

    Even if he could prove his assertions about Nicaea and the Papacy, he doesn’t win anything for his own position. Not unless he shows how the Council taught the TULIP or his views of predestination.

    Same goes with his attacks on the pre-350 A.D. Fathers.

    His “Tu Quoque” arguments about how Catholics are just as divided as Protestants doesn’t do a thing for Calvinism.

    His attacks on the sacrifice of the Mass ( which backfired on him ) never once promote his own erroneous views of sacrifice and the atonement.

    You keep braying about how “satanic” the Catholic Church is but never even attempt to prove your own cult’s position.

  4. Walter,
    “Week after week we read facts, evidence and excellent analysis.”

    So, you are of the opinion Tim has completely undone any Catholic claims to Nicaea, eh? Okay, let’s say he has just for fun.
    How does that advance Calvinism?
    Where does the Council of Nicaea teach Reformed theology?
    Where does it say Christ did not die for all men?
    Where does it say the Father punished the Son?
    Where does it say Christ suffered hell?
    Where does it say grace is irresistible?
    Where does it say men are totally depraved?
    Where does it deny Baptism?
    Or the Eucharist?
    Or Mary?
    Or the saints?
    Or purgatory?
    Or the Mass as sacrifice?
    Or the priesthood?
    Or the Bishops?
    Or the Deuterocanonical books?
    Where does it explicitly deny the Papacy? ( Don’t give me Tim’s hints, inferences, and innuendos ).

    If the Council did not teach my religion, did it teach yours?
    Put down the Glenlivet and take off the tam o’ shanter and put on your thinking cap. Tell us which Reformed doctrine existed BEFORE the latter half of the 4th century. Better still, tell us which Reformed doctrine existed before the 16th century.

    Since Tim has supplied you with such an “excellent analysis”, it should be easy for you to oblige me.

    1. Jim,

      I’m sorry to say that I believe you are so hardened that you are a huge waste of precious time. Until you learn how to read and develop some higher level of discernment, and some skills in logic I’m afraid that there is no response from either Tim or myself that is going to make any difference to your mind and heart. Your heart is hardened such that nothing is going to change you except the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ve been where you are at when I was a Roman Catholic and my skepticism about all things non-Catholic hurt me for many years. I do feel very sorry for you, and can only pray the Lord will change your heart and your mind.

  5. Some great ministers (some former priests) who saw the light:

    “I shall not say much about the general character of Popery. It is, indeed, the masterpiece of Satan—his greatest and most successful scheme for frustrating the great designs of the Christian religion. This is the light in which it ought ever to be contemplated. This being, then, Satan’s great scheme for frustrating the Christian revelation, the right mode of dealing with it, and the maintenance of a right position in regard to it, must virtually form the chief duty of a Christian Church.” – William Cunningham.

    “In fact, when the classic historicist position is studied, the fulfillment in the case of Islam and Revelation chapter nine is seen to be so striking and well attested that ‘even advocates of other approaches who are adamant in their rejection of the historicist system of interpretation have admitted the convincing nature of this particular identification.'” – Steve Gregg, commenting on Rev. 9:1-6 in Revelation: Four Views, p. 176.

    “There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ. Nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalts himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God.” – Westminster Confession of Faith, Of the Church, Chapter 25:6, 1647, Original Edition.

    “Along with Martin Luther, Knox finally concluded that the Papacy was ‘the very antichrist, and son of perdition, of whom Paul speaks'” – John Knox, The Zurich Letters, p. 199.

    “Daniel and Paul had predicted that Antichrist would sit in the temple of God. The head of that cursed and abominable kingdom, in the Western Church, we affirm to be the Pope” – John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. 2, pp. 314, 315, 1561 edition

    The Declinatour and Protestation of the Some Some-times Pretended Bishops, Presented in the Face of the Last Assembly. Refuted and Found Futile, But Full of Insolent Reproaches, and Bold Assertions (1639)
    Author: The Church of Scotland General Assembly

    An exceedingly rare title marking the continuing rise, at a critical juncture, of the covenanted Reformed Presbyterian church.

    Members of this General Assembly and signatories to this protestation include Samuel Rutherford, David Dickson, Robert Baillie and even James Sharp (who later apostatized to the camp of the Prelatical antichrist and persecuted [and murdered] the Covenanters he once owned as brothers).

    This book refutes the charges of the prelates, while exposing their many errors (which included teaching Arminianism, Popery, conditional election, the power of free-will resisting effectual grace, that the Pope is not the Antichrist, that Rome is the true church [constitutionally], that worship is not regulated by the Word of God [the regulative principle], that the earlier reformers were deformers; and denying limited atonement, justification by faith alone, predestination, and a number of other revealed truths of Scripture.)

    1. Walt,

      “…while exposing their many errors (which included teaching Arminianism,…, conditional election, the power of free-will resisting effectual grace,.., “.

      Could you put this in your own words? Tell us about unconditional election. Tell us about how God made men for hell but selected a few for salvation.
      Tell us how you have no free will.

  6. Do you ever advance an argument of your own, Walt?
    Let me answer that for you; No, you don’t because you don’t understand the Calvinist cult you espouse anymore than you understood the Catholic faith you betrayed.

  7. Walt,
    In 25 words or less, can you give me one reason you are a Calvinist rather than a Methodist ( no log winded quotes from some Scottish guy allowed ).
    You have been quite outspoken in why you left the Catholic Church ( they made you ring a bell as an altar boy, right? )
    But why did you turn to Calvinism rather than Lutheranism or Methodism? What is about Calvinism that draws you? Is it the doctrine that says God made men specifically to populate hell? Or the doctrine that says God loathed Jesus while he hung on the cross? Surely you want to evangelize the lurkers, don’t you? Now is your chance to put a plug in for Calvinism. Go for it! Tell us what compelled you to choose Calvinism from out of the myriads of Protestant cults.
    Please tell us you are more than just a NON or ANTI Catholic. Please give us a positive reason for being what you are.

  8. Tim,
    You got saved as a non Calvinist and later opted to turn into a Calvinist, didn’t you?
    Maybe you can help Walt. His tongue seems to be tied. He knows why he left the Catholic Church but is at a loss as to why he is a Calvinist. Could you tell him? He adores you almost as much as Kevin did. Tell him what he thinks.

  9. “The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach to-day, or else be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox’s gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again.”—C. H. Spurgeon

    “There is no soul living who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do, and if any man asks me whether I am ashamed to be called a Calvinist, I answer—I wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold them, and rejoice to avow it.” -Charles H. Spurgeon

    “And what is the heresy of Arminianism but the addition of something to the work of the Redeemer? Every heresy, if brought to the touchstone, will discover itself here. I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else”

    SOURCE: From The Autobiography of Charles H. Spurgeon, Curts and Jennings, Cincinnati – Chicago – St. Louis, 1898, Vol. I., Page 172.

    1. Thank you Walt for copy and pasting the testimony of Charles Haddon Sturgeon. It tells me why he became a Calvinist.

      Trouble is, it doesn’t say a ding-dong thing about YOU.

  10. PS,

    “The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached…”

    Augustine and Paul preached that Christ died only for the elect?
    Augustine and Paul preached irresistible grace?
    Augustine and Paul denied the Mass?
    Really? Without copy and pasting someone else’s words, could you prove such an outlandish claim?

    By the way Walt, Tim doesn’t like Augustine. He came after 350 A.D.

    1. Jim,

      I am not sure I understand your point in providing the link to this article. I have stated elsewhere that I believed that the early church form of government was episcopal. The presence of episcopates in the early church hardly proves that the early church was Roman Catholic under the supreme rule of a Roman bishop.



      1. Phew!
        I am so glad you agree with Bryan Cross contra John Bugeye in Apostolic Succession being necessary to determine the canon of scripture and how to interpret it and therefore the sacramentality of Holy Orders.
        And once you concede that, it is only logical for there to be a number one Bishop to keep the others orthodox ( see Luke 22 ).

          1. Tim said:

            “You’ve lost me, Jim.”

            It really is so sad to see Jim post. There is not reason, logic or brain power at work. It is all just foolish, sarcastic humor and ignorance to learn any facts. It is like watching a robot who is told to defend the Romish heresy at all costs…even to the extent if it makes you look goofy in public. The goal promoted by Rome is to defend her at all costs, whether one lies, deceives or just looks plain foolish.

            Tim, how to do define the Episcopal form of church government in the early church? Would you say that the oldest church government is Episcopal, and that Episcopal was the biblical form of the New Testament?

          2. Tim,
            I lost you? Well, you lost me some time ago. I cannot even follow your theory. It seems to borrow from everyone from Harnack to Hislop. Something about around 350 A.D. the Nephites were all killed off and the Church o’ Rome took over, right?

  11. Jim said:

    “Augustine and Paul denied the Mass?”

    Are you serious? Have you ever read any of Paul’s writings?

    The mass as taught to me in Catholic School and Catholic Church is totally foreign to any biblical form of church government and worship. The Catholic and Episcopal churches worship images, they reject exclusive psalmody and promote instrumental music in public worship, are run by a central King, Queen or Pope as the head of their government, and the list can go on and on.

    The true Apostolic church of Scripture promoted and practiced non of these things. I was surprised today to learn that Prelates and a King/Queen “royalty” were the head of the early national churches and the national civil governments of the early church and state.

    Below it says that the Pope was the authority over the Episcopal Church until royalty took the head of the church. First the Pope was the head, then Royalty took control of the Prelates.

    “The beginnings of the Church of England (link is external), from which The Episcopal Church derives, date to at least the second century, when merchants and other travelers first brought Christianity to England. It is customary to regard St. Augustine of Canterbury’s mission to England in 597 as marking the formal beginning of the church under papal authority, as it was to be throughout the Middle Ages.

    In its modern form, the church dates from the English Reformation of the 16th century, when royal supremacy was established and the authority of the papacy was repudiated. With the advent of British colonization, the Church of England was established on every continent. In time, these churches gained their independence, but retained connections with the mother church in the Anglican Communion (link is external).”


    1. Walt said – Catholic and Episcopal churches worship images

      Me – Walt smokes dope.

      See I can say idiotic stuff too.

      Walt, have you read the Didache? That will give you an idea how the early church worshiped.

      Also what good is it for you to stop worshiping images and instead worship a God that creates/is evil (what your religion believes). Hell was not created for man and God wants all men to be saved. yet your cult says otherwise. Will you defend it at any cost? Do you even know what your cult teaches?

      1. CK,

        Shame on you for spreading false and calumnious stories about brother Walt. He does not smoke the reefer.
        No way. Not since the day he went down to the hood to score some weed dressed in his kilt. They dealers mistook him for a prevert and pulled the kilt over his head and spanked him with a switch.
        Walt now sits home in his kilt, sipping Drambuie and Glenfiddich on ice and concocting theories about being abused as a Catholic kid.
        He does NOT smoke dope!

    2. Walt,
      “The mass as taught to me in Catholic School and Catholic Church is totally foreign to any biblical form of church government and worship. ”

      Really? Isn’t the Mass compatible with Catholic Church government and worship?

    3. Walt,

      I apologize for the delay, and in advance for the long reply. It has been a busy week.

      You wrote,

      “I was surprised today to learn that Prelates and a King/Queen ‘royalty’ were the head of the early national churches and the national civil governments of the early church and state.”

      That is true. Roman Catholics take the opposite view and make much of Antioch’s appeal to the emperor in the 3rd century to remove Paul of Samosata from the church in Antioch, as if every ecclesiastical body had been trying to unseat him, and it never worked until Emperor Aurelius appealed to the Bishop of Rome to step in and set everything to rights. That is precisely how Fr. Ray Ryland reported the affair in his video at the Coming Home Network. (see Papal Authority and the Early Church)

      At about 14:15 into the video, Ryland talks about the issue of Paul of Samosata. Three synods of bishops in the east had tried to intervene, Ryland says, but Paul would not leave. Then the Emperor asked the Pope to intervene and Paul was “out of there.” See? Papal authority.

      Well, that is not exactly what happened. The affair is recorded for us in Eusebius’ Church History, Book VII, chapter 30. The Church in Antioch excommunicated Paul of Samosata, appointed another bishop, the son of a previous bishop over the same parish. All other churches of the world were then advised to communicate with his replacement, Domnus, instead. They did not ask permission. Yes, they had asked for help, but as Esuebius noted, they had asked for help from Alexandria and Cappadocia, and made no mention of any appeal to Rome: “We sent for and called many of the bishops from a distance to relieve us from this deadly doctrine,” including such bishops of note as “Dionysius of Alexandria and Firmilianus of Cappadocia, those blessed men” (Eusebius, Church History, Book VII, chapter 30, paragraph 17) They had not asked Rome for help. And they did not await a Roman representative to help them decide the matter. After some analysis and consultation, they simply excommunicated Paul, and replaced him:

      “Therefore we have been compelled to excommunicate him, since he sets himself against God, and refuses to obey; and to appoint in his place another bishop for the Catholic Church. By divine direction, as we believe, we have appointed Domnus, who is adorned with all the qualities becoming in a bishop, and who is a son of the blessed Demetrianus, who formerly presided in a distinguished manner over the same parish. We have informed you of this that you may write to him, and may receive letters of communion from him.” (Eusebius, Church History, Book VII, chapter 30, paragraph 17).

      Problem solved. From an ecclesiastical perspective the matter was dealt with, and all other churches of the world now stood informed of the change of leadership. As for the excommunicate Paul, “he struts about in the abominable heresy of Artemas” (Eusebius, Church History, Book VII, chapter 30, paragraph 16). Therefore, “let this man [Paul] write to Artemas; and let those who think as Artemas does, communicate with him” (Eusebius, Church History, Book VII, chapter 30, paragraph 16).

      At no point does anyone appeal to the Bishop or Rome for help.

      This is where some knowledge of history is helpful to unwind the tangled web that Fr. Ryland has woven.

      At the time of Paul of Samosata’s episcopate, Aurelius ruled in Rome, and the separatist queen Zenobia ruled in Syria, and Paul of Samosata had been on friendly terms with her. She in turn wished to protect his standing. The church of Antioch may have excommunicated him, and he may have “fallen from the episcopate, as well as from the orthodox faith,” as Eusebius reported, but Zenobia allowed him to retain his office, and therefore he “refused to surrender the church building” (Eusebius, Church History, Book VII, chapter 30, paragraph 19). Why should he leave if he had the queen on his side? He could retain his office at the pleasure of the reigning queen, but as for the orthodox faith, the church had replaced him, and advised that further communications to the church of Antioch were to be addressed to Domnus and not to Paul.

      What else could Church of Antioch have done? There was nothing they could do, since Queen Zenobia would not assist them. Paul stayed in the church building, but the church moved on without him, since the Church (at the time) was not tied to any real property.

      Of course, the church at Antioch eventually appealed to Emperor Aurelian to get the church building, but the critical piece of data is that Aurelian had since invaded Syria and defeated Zenobia. Aurelian was in charge now, so the Church appealed to the guy in charge—not to make Domnus bishop of Antioch (Domnus was already Bishop there), but to recover the building. As Eusebius records “the Emperor Aurelian was petitioned,” not the Bishop of Rome, and it was Arelius who “decided the matter most equitably.” (Eusebius, Church History, Book VII, chapter 30, paragraph 19).

      What did Aurelius do? Did he remand the matter of ecclesiastical administration to Rome to decide who ought to be the true bishop of Antioch? No, he did not. The ecclesiastical matter had already been decided by the church of Antioch, “By divine direction” (Eusebius, Church History, Book VII, chapter 30, paragraph 17), notably without any Roman input at all. All that remained was the question of what to do with the building itself. So Arelius ordered “the building to be given to those to whom the bishops of Italy and of the city of Rome should adjudge it.” (Eusebius, Church History, Book VII, chapter 30, paragraph 19).

      Here it is helpful to recall that “Italy” and “the city of Rome” were two separate jurisdictions, as we have noted elsewhere, particularly in False Teeth and “Unless I am Deceived…”. Note that Aurelius did not “ask the Pope to intervene,” as Ryland stated. Ryland’s allegation is plainly false. Aurelius remanded the matter of the church building to be decided by the bishops of Italy (one jurisdiction) and of the city of Rome (another jurisdiction), and let them decide a real estate matter. The ecclesiastical matter was not in question.

      At no point in Eusebius’ History does he report that Emperor Aurelian asked “the pope” to intervene, and at no point in his history does Eusebius report that the Church of Antioch asked the Bishop of Rome for help. In fact, Eusebius plainly asserts that Paul had been driven from the Church by the secular power, by which he means driven from the church building. Note Eusebius’ actual words:

      “But as Paul refused to surrender the church building, the Emperor Aurelian was petitioned; and he decided the matter most equitably, ordering the building to be given to those to whom the bishops of Italy and of the city of Rome should adjudge it. Thus this man was driven out of the church, with extreme disgrace, by the worldly power.” (Eusebius, Church History, Book VII, chapter 30, paragraph 19)

      If Paul of Samosata was “out of there” on the say-so of the Pope of Rome, why did Eusebius report that Paul had been driven from the church by the worldly power?

      In any case, the reason Aurelius had matters decided in Italy is simple: emperors tended to have matters decided from the territory wherever they happen to be ruling, or in whichever city they happen to like to be at the time. Aurelius had just invaded and conquered Syria, recovering it from Zenobia, and his empire was administered from Rome. So Italy was the place for such a matter to be decided.

      By way of illustration, recall that the council of Arles (314 A.D.) was convened by the emperor to review a decision of the bishop of Rome, and Arles happened to be one of Constantine’s favorite places to live. The council of Nicæa was near Constantinople, where Constantine had been reigning at the time of Nicæa in 325 A.D.. The council of Sardica (343 A.D.), was also called to review a decision of a Roman bishop, during which time there were two disputing brothers—Constantius and Constans—ruling the empire, so the council was convened at the boundary line between their two domains. Aurelius’ direction that the matter of a church building be decided in Italy is consistent with this pattern. He could hardly have the matter decided in Antioch, since the church there was party to the dispute.

      Thus, Ryland’s reconstruction of the history of Paul of Samosata is gratuitously biased toward a Roman Primacy, of which primacy, or even so much as an appeal to the Bishop of Rome nothing is recorded in the actual events of the case. And yet Ryland reported the case as if the entire affair hinged on the decision of the Bishop of Rome. Ryland’s summary is grossly inaccurate and anachronistic.

      In any case, your point about the primacy of the king, queen or emperor over national or regional churches in the first few centuries is entirely valid. Prior to the end of the 4th century, when Roman Catholicism claimed universal jurisdiction and primacy, the churches rather submitted to the king or queen in their particular region—something amply demonstrated by the Antiochian church under Zenobia and the Roman and Alexandrian churches under Aurelius, and by the council of Sardica which still required decisions of the Bishop or Rome to be submitted to the Emperor’s court for ratification. The communication between Antioch on the one hand, and Alexandria and Rome on the other, was about a change in ecclesiastical administration—a courtesy notification, not request for approval. We saw the same thing in the Council of Constantinople in 380 A.D., when the people of Rome were kindly notified of some recent ordinations in Antioch and Jerusalem. Likewise, since the two regions were now no longer under disagreeing emperors, it was ok for Constantinople and Rome to share administration equally:

      “…so that whereas in the past we were condemned to suffer alone, you should not now reign in isolation from us, given the complete agreement of the emperors in matters of religion” (Council of Constantinople, Synodical Letter)

      If the emperors were in disagreement, as was often the case, the churches continued in isolation, communicating as they could, under the power that had been appointed by God.

      Roman Catholics like to recast the first three hundred years as if all churches looked to the Church of Rome for guidance and administration. Rather they looked to the ruler of the land (even if it was a separatist queen) or a pagan emperor, rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, but rendering unto God that which is God’s.

      To your question,

      Tim, how to do define the Episcopal form of church government in the early church? Would you say that the oldest church government is Episcopal, and that Episcopal was the biblical form of the New Testament?

      I don’t believe the Scripture prescribes an episcopal form of government. All I can say is that the early church adopted that form. It is no more obligatory than attendance at twice daily gatherings (as was practiced in some domains) or celebrating Passover on the 14th of Nisan (as was practiced in some places). Different churches adopted different customs where Christian liberty allowed it.

      But I do not believe the episcopal form is healthy, as it lends itself to the sin of Diotrephes “who loveth to have the preeminence” (3 John 9), and played right into hands of an ambitious Roman episcopate that desired the same thing that Diotrephes did. In fact it paved the way for antichrist.

      Thus, I would certainly not say that the early church’s practice of an episcopal form of government is prescriptive for us in any way, nor even that it was prescribed by the bible. Thus it is properly abandoned for another form, which I believe presbyterianism is the ideal.

      I hope that answers your question.



      1. Tim,
        “They had not asked Rome for help. And they did not await a Roman representative to help them decide the matter. ”

        I think this is what is known as “an argument from silence”.

        “I don’t believe the Scripture prescribes an episcopal form of government. All I can say is that the early church adopted that form.”

        Has it ever occurred to you that the early Church adopted that form of government precisely because it IS prescribed in the Scripture?
        Plus, I find it perplexing that you would discount something “adopted” by the early Church. But then, you also discount pretty much all of what the early Church “adopted”; Mary, the Mass, prayers for the dead, baptismal regeneration, etc. in exchange for Calvin’s 16th century innovations; Penal substitution, Limited atonement, Christ suffering hell, Once Saved Always Saved, etc.

        “But I do not believe the episcopal form is healthy, as it lends itself to the sin of Diotrephes”

        Maybe. But the form of government you and Walt subscribe to lends itself to heresy.

        As for Fr. Ray Ryland, too bad we can’t ask him to defend his views against yours. Unless he has made a pit stop in purgatory, he is busy enjoying the beatific vision at the moment and for an eternity to come. I think I will stick with his side of the story. Thanks anyway Tim.

  12. Tim,
    It’s been a few years now and I still don’t know where you are going with your weekly posts. Is there going to be closure soon? Or are you just ambling along with no end in sight? Walt pretends to understand you but I think all he understands is that your installments are against the Catholic Church and that is good enough for him.
    You now say you have believed the early Church had an episcopal form of government all along. Aren’t you a Presbyterian? That episcopacy was not sacramental so just what was it?
    What happened in 350 A.D.? Nicaea was a quarter century before that date so you don’t lay the blame on Constantine as your fellow conspiracy theorists do, right?

    You must believe the pre 350 A.D. Church to have been similar to modern day Calvinism, yes? Did it teach “Once Saved Always Saved”? Why don’t we have any record of it? Were all records of OSAS expunged by the Harlot after seizing the reigns of power?
    How did a simple love feast of bread and grape juice morph into the Bread Worship in a few short decades? How did this change of cult happen from Britannia to Persia without any resistance? Or was there resistance but, once again, the Harlot burnt all records of the pre 350 Church’s doctrines?

    What held the various bishoprics together before 350? Did some bishoprics baptize babies and others only believers but agreed to disagree on this non-salvation issue?

    Why 350? Who, what, where, happened? Please don’t just posit another installment of a theory that just seems to be added to week by week. Can you sum it all up in 50 words or so?

    Clicking on your archived articles. Although the titles lead me to believe they are about what exactly happened, clicking on them reveals only weird stuff about Blessed Peter Julian Eymard or Marian devotions. Hints, inferences and innuendos only.
    Also, could you please supply some sources? You expect people to believe you aren’t making stuff up out thin air.

    What is your end game ( other than anti-Catholicism of course ).

    1. Jim, you asked,

      “What happened in 350 A.D.?”

      That is a good question. You should consider looking into an answer to it.

      You also asked,

      “Also, could you please supply some sources?”

      I don’t know what you mean by this. I provide sources every week with every article I post.



  13. Tim,
    I appreciate the hard work you did in exposing Gregory of Nyssa as being a key player in the corruption of the cracker and grape juice love feast/”sacrifice” of praise into the Romish Transubstantiation.
    What more can you tell us about him? Was he a Trinitarian? Or did he monkey with that doctrine too?
    How did this guy who lived down around Turkey disseminate his heresies up in Britain? Or in Carthage? Why did the Romish pope buy his views and foist them on Lusitania and Gaul?
    What led Gregory to come to such strange conclusions? Did he do so in a vacuum? Or was he a knowing co-conspirator in a coven of heretics or demon bread worshipers?

  14. Walt,
    When I challenged Sturgeon’s assertion that Paul and Augustine taught Calvinism by asking where the two saints held to a Calvinist view of the Mass/sacrifice/atonement, you responded by asking if I heave read Paul. You did not ask about Augustine. Does that mean you concede Sturgeon had it wrong on Augustine?

    As for Paul, he could NOT have held to a Calvinist view of the Lord’s Supper as he believed in the Real Presence. He certainly could not have held to a Calvinist view of sacrifice either as he believed Christ DIED FOR ALL MEN and not just the elect.

    Are you familiar with Paul’s teaching on the extent of Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary? Have you ever read the Pauline epistles? Do you own a Bible of your own? If not, may I make a gift of one to you? My treat. I would love to get a copy of all 73 inspired books into your hands.

  15. Bob,
    Are you on the premises? Walt has attacked Arminianism. He won’t explain his Calvinist position to a me, a Catholic. Perhaps you can get him to explain why he denies he has free will or explain how he was born again before believing in Jesus. As an Arminian, you must want him to show you from the Bible where Christ died only for some.
    He feels he doesn’t owe me an explanation, probably because I am”satanic”. You, however, have “come out of her ( the Harlot ) so he should be happy to share his beliefs with you.
    Ask him about his views about God making men with a will enslaved only to sin and then holding them accountable for the sin that they were compelled to commit by God’s own sovereign decree.
    He is a proud Calvinist of the Scottish Highlands. He is a scion of John Knox. He swill welcome the opportunity to proclaim the “Doctrines of Grace” he is willing to go to hell for.

    1. JIM–
      Yes. I am still lurking. I have been enjoying the funny back and forth.
      Practically everyone has a meager understanding of predestination. Most people look at it as predetermination. The difference is the properties of time.
      God’s revelation to us of predestination is a picture of history in it’s entirety–seeing the end from the beginning–outside the time continuum. The destinations of hell and heaven have been set by God as the consequences of our choices and actions. As a manner of speaking, our destiny has been predetermined by God according to our free will. Our actions have not been predetermined, only our destiny–either heaven or hell, according to our deeds. And because God knows the end from the beginning, he knows who is elect and who is not. He is the only one that knows for certain. Man can only know what appears to be so. It would appear that St Peter is in the heavenly realm because of the evidence of history. Likewise, it would appear that Adolph Hitler is in hell from the evidence of history. But what we cannot know for certain is their disposition with God at the very moment of their death. Their particular disposition is only certain by revelation.

      Calvinism tries to explain predestination from within the time continuum. It simply cannot be done so and be reconciled with man’s free will. Arminianism recognizes predestination and man’s free will go hand in hand from God’s perspective instead of ours. All we can ever know in this life is what was and what is. We can never know what will be unless it is specifically revealed to us by God from outside the time continuum.

      How is that applied practically?
      We were saved–justification.
      We are being saved–sanctification.
      We have been saved–glorification.
      We are justified by grace through our faith given by God in Jesus Christ.
      We are sanctified by the Holy Spirit in obedience and sacrament through Jesus Christ.
      We are glorified by God crowning us according to our deeds (“Well done my good and faithful servant”) as co-heirs with Jesus Christ.
      But as Paul says, we must persevere until the end–working out our salvation with fear and trembling. And we do that just like our doxology states:
      “Through Him, with Him, and in Him, in unity with the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory is Yours, Almighty Father, forever and ever. Amen”
      “Praise be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
      As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen and Amen.”

      Predestination and free will?
      Piece of cake. You can have it and eat it, too! You just have to have the right perspective of time.

      1. Bob,

        Free will is all through the Bible. The Calvinist is so intent on guarding God’s sovereignty over everything that they end up having to deny man has anything to do with his own destiny. That makes God responsible for everything that happens. That explains why all the big Calvinist Ivy League schools morphed into deism and pantheism.

        Yeah, Calvinism’s eternal decrees take place in sequential time. God lives outside of time.

        One other thing , many of the Calvinist’s favorite Bible passages for predestination are corporate, not about individuals. Romans 9 for instance. Also, Ephesians says we are chosen IN Christ. It does not say we are chosen TO BE IN Christ.
        At the end of the day, the Bible clearly says God loves all men and wants all men saved. Calvinism denies this.
        ( And Walt calls my faith “satanic’! )

  16. Tim,
    Aren’t we due for another installment? You have ignored my ( and even Walt’s ) requests for you to explain your views of the atonement and sacrifice since your “Melito” piece, opting instead to just keep piling up long winded articles that no one is going to take the time to research as you don’t bother giving us any source references for your theory.

    Walt needs you to be his champion but you are laying low, carefully avoiding and attempt to explain or defend your 100% unbiblical Calvinist beliefs. You know you would just end up with egg all over your face.

    So, give us another installment on your crackpot theory, please.

  17. Tim,
    Do you ever. just for a lark, listen to Marcus Grodi? I am listening to another ex Calvinist right now now talk about how the Fathers made him Catholics. About every other guest on Marcus’ show says the same thing.


    You and some other Protestants, ( certainly not all ) deny the early Church was Catholic. But you never say the Fathers made you Protestant. You are always Protestant first and then set out to refute Catholic claims only for apologetic purposes. IOW, you have to wiggle, squirm and twist yourself into contortions in order to try to make the Fathers Protestant. You don’t just naturally find Protestantism in the early Church.

    Perhaps you want to say you know of a person who left the Catholic Church for Protestantism AFTER reading the Fathers. But it wasn’t you. Nor Walt. Nor anyone you can actually put a name to.

  18. What a coincidence. I clicked on Catholic Answers Live and this popped out at me.

    And then we have you, Bill Webster and John Bugeye. But you apostatized independent of any interest in what the fathers said.

    And of course, we have the myriads of Protestants who actually denounce the Fathers and accuse them of being heretics. Those Protestants are by far in the majority.

    I think the later Dave Hunt did a flip flop from disliking the Fathers to coming over into your camp claiming the early Fathers were Protestants.
    You guys desperately try to say the Fathers didn’t subscribe to the Mass as sacrifice , the Real Presence or Infant Baptism.. But you seldom try to show Calvinism in the Fathers. No OSAS, no Limited Atonement. No Christ suffering the torments of the damned.

    Tim, you can sin, you can dance, but you cannot get around the fact that your cult did not exist before Luther.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Me