Mine to foreknow, yours to find out

Peter Hickman asked a couple of times about my own views on divine sovereignty and human free-will on the Freedom and Autonomy threads. I deliberately refrained from answering there, because the purpose of that series was to show how much the thing became an issue through the introduction of a non-biblical but addictive concept of human free-will and liberty during the Renaissance. I argued that, starting in a small way with the Arminian controversy, that new concept has gradually taken much modern theology badly off-course since, until the whole structure of Christianity has been transformed. I still believe that is an important challenge, and hope you read the series purely with that in mind.

Nevertheless I do have my own views, which I have not hidden, and I came across some interesting material during preparation for the last series which might be worth discussing in future posts. Meanwhile Peter’s points are worth replying to especially because they raise the other half of the equation, ie not so much whether God’s subsuming of human freedom in his providence invades man’s autonomy, but whether it makes him a participant in evil (which one might call the theodicy issue).

Like free-will, though, the first question is to decide whether Scripture says God is so involved, the theodicy being done on a theological and philosophical basis afterwards. Peter makes the case for predestination (the compass of which we won’t go into here) being the result of God’s foreknowledge, presumably of our future choices as in Arminianism, in Romans 8.29:

According to Romans, “For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son”.
So something preceeds predestination (foreknowledge).
And what is predestined is specified (conformity to Christ’s image).

It is best to use words in the way that the Scriptures do.

The question here, then, is “In what way does Scripture use ‘foreknew’?” There’s a very detailed word study here, looking at the the use of the words (προγινοσκω [vb.] and προγνοσις [n.]) throughout Greek literature, including the Bible. Excellent stuff – challenging reading.

A few summary points from that:
(a) Adding prefixes to words, especially in koine Greek, serves mainly to intensify rather than change the meaning. So quite often one writer might prefer the bare verb “know”. The “pro-” stresses the time of the knowing, but doesn’t change its reference.
(b) In classic Greek proginosko was mainly about the infallible prediction of, say, a god or prophet. It’s distinguished from pronoeo, which can also mean foreknow in a weaker sense, as in “making provision”, which is once used of God’s providence in the New Testament. But whatever one foreknows (proginosko) will certainly happen – so at least that excludes provisionality when used of God.
(c) Gradually, both “know” and “foreknow” aquired a personal sense, and that predominates in the New Testament.
(d) Lastly, and especially in the NT, proginosko acquires a determinative meaning, within that personal context. The idea is of God’s forming a relationship in advance even, sometimes, of a person’s existence. This reflects a Hebrew OT usage such as Jeremiah 1.5, in which the prophet is (in parallel phrases) known, set apart and appointed as a prophet to the nations before God forms him in the womb. V6 shows that God was not simply picking up on Jeremiah’s future ambitions, but that “knew” is equivalent to “chose” (as NIV margin notes).

So what about the NT use of “foreknow”? Fortunately there are only seven instances, so we can look at them all.

Two are in Acts (and therefore reflect Luke’s usage). In 26.5 Paul says at his trial that the Jews have “known me for a long time”, lit. “foreknowing me from the beginning.” The use here is clearly personal, the “pro” simply emphasing when they first knew him, rather than any predictive issue.

Acts 2.23 is much more significant to us:

This man [Jesus] was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death.

Here is clearly stated that God purposed Jesus to be sinfully handed over to death at the hands of wicked men. That implies a lot about God’s involvement in the world’s affairs, for all the unique nature of the Passion. But what’s that word “foreknowledge” doing there? It might seem that God, passively foreknowing their evil intentions, actively determined Jesus’s arrest in response. But the syntax (even in NIV translation) shows that it was by the agency both of God’s purpose and foreknowledge: to say that passive knowledge delivered him over is absurd. The word therefore is being used in its personal, determinative sense: God (a) purposes to deliver him and (b) foreknows him as his appointed suffering servant; and so ensures these things happen.

Peter’s use is also mixed. 2 Pet 3.17 speaks of his readers already knowing true teaching – proginosko merely means they already knew something some time ago. But 1 Pet 1.20 says:

[Christ] was chosen [lit. foreknown] before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

Here even the translations translate proginosko determinatively – KJV has “foreordained”. The sense is clearly of the Son set apart by his Father before creation for all that he would do, and eventually did do “in these last times.”

That leaves 1 Pet 1.2, a close parallel to Rom 8.29, which says:

To God’s elect [eklektoiw] … who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood.

Literally that’s “To God’s elect … according to the foreknowledge of God…”. So is the use of “proginosko” the same as later in the same chapter, or different? The active agent of God’s choice is “the sanctifying work of the Spirit”, and that produces “obedience to Jesus Christ” and “sprinkling by his blood.” That choice, leading to that process, are “according to the foreknowledge of God.”

That might mean
(a) God’s knowledge that these particular people would somehow merit, or cooperate with, or respond to his choice. But nothing of the sort is mentioned – only God’s own actions.
(b) that God knew in advance the fact that he would choose these people, sanctify them, etc. That doesn’t seem to add much meaning to the sentence, or
(c) That, in an analogous way to knowing and choosing Christ as Saviour in v20, God knew these people as saved (in Christ) as the basis of his choice of them for sanctification.

Which of these three makes most sense to you?

Now we turn to Paul’s use of the word – twice, both in Romans. In 11.2, despite Israel’s disobedience:

God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew.

It would be incoherent to say he did not reject them because he knew they would rebel. And indeed foundational texts in Deuteronomy 7.7-8 and 9.6 (reinforced in Ezekiel 36.22) show that God chose Israel absolutely not because of any quality seen or foreseen in them. Paul goes on to stress that in Elijah’s time, God himself reserved 7,000 obedient Isrealites, and that similarly he has now chosen a Jewish remnant “by grace. And if by grace then it is no longer by works.” The only sensible understanding is that, as in 1 Peter, God’s foreknowledge here is an electing personal relationship which alone makes the Jews’ consistent rebellion no reason at all to reject them.

And so, at last, to Rom 8.28-30:

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

So – predictive use, or determinative use here? Knowledge of events, or of people? First note that the whole purpose is assurance. Those called according to God’s purpose prosper. Vv29-30 only support that assurance because the “links in the chain” are solid: “if (a), then necessarily (b), and so necessarily (c)” etc. So the idea is that those foreknown end up glorified, via those other stages.

But if future faith, or obedience or some other differentiating quality is what is foreknown, why are they not specified (exactly the same as in 1 Peter 1)? In fact, in that predictive sense, God foreknows everyone, so the passage would have to mean “those whom God knew certain things about he predestined, but not those he knew certain other things about – after that stage, the chain works… and by the way, I’m not telling what God needs to foresee in you to bless you.” That would be messy writing indeed.

Then again, the controlling idea in the passage is God’s choice. It is seen in “called according to God’s purpose” in v28, and in “those whom God has chosen” in v33. So where does that “choice” appear in the chain of blessing? Logically it should be mentioned at the beginning, before God predestines us to be conformed to Christ, and certainly before he calls, justifies and glorifies us. Instead, all we have is foreknowledge … unless that word is being used in its frequent determinative sense, ie that the start of the chain is God’s choosing to know us in a personal way, in the way he previously chose Israel and, of course, the Lord Jesus. As the word study linked above points out, this is not an arbitary, purely sovereign choice:

The word proginosko does involve a sovereign choice. That choice is not arbitrary, but purposefully takes into account what God will do in and through the one chosen. However, that choice is not the choice of a King planning a military campaign, but the choice of the Bridegroom choosing His bride.

The same word study cites Denne:

hous proegno: those whom He foreknew – in what sense? as persons who would answer His love with love? This is at least irrelevant, and alien to Paul’s general mode of thought. That salvation begins with God, and begins in eternity, are fundamental ideas with him, which he here applies to Christians, without raising any of the problems involved in the relation of the human will to the Divine. He comes upon these in chap. ix., but not here. Yet we may be sure that proegno has the pregnant sense that ginosko (Heb yada‘) often has in Scripture: e.g., in Ps. i. 6, Amos iii. 2: hence we may render, “those of whom God took knowledge from eternity” (Eph. i. 4).

Why would Paul not mean it in that sense? Well, to answer that absolutely seriously it would probably be because Paul is keen either, like post-Renaissance interpreters of him, to maintain the dignity of human autonomy, or because, as hinted in Peter’s post, he puts limits on the sovereignty of God in such matters. In a future post, I hope to provide some specific clues on that question from a non-biblical first century source.

Like “freedom”, though, “foreknowledge” is a concept that bears a lot of weight in current theology, so getting it right is important. After all, Open Theism restricts God’s “foreknowledge”, understood as knowledge of future events, because it limits man’s free choice. But we’ve seen that at least the word “foreknow” is pretty rare in Scripture, and that at very least in some cases it has to do not with knowing things, but with choosing people. One might ask why, if God’s limited future knowledge is so important, why so little is said about it in the Bible?

Jon Garvey

About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
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24 Responses to Mine to foreknow, yours to find out

  1. seenoevo says:

    Jon,

    You write:
    “I argued that, starting in a small way with the Arminian controversy, that new concept has gradually taken much modern theology badly off-course since, until the whole structure of Christianity has been transformed.”

    The WHOLE structure of Christianity has been transformed?

    Maybe for the products of the Protestant TRANSformation (a term I wrote of on the “Hermeneutic” blog.).

    But I don’t think the structure of Roman Catholic Christianity has been changed in any way, whole or otherwise.

    • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

      Seenoevo, as the context shows, I clearly implied that theology is transformed for those who take those steps, and not otherwise. Do try and read intelligently.

      In fact there are Catholic minds that have gone the same way and either challenge the magisterium or try to steer an obfuscating course round it.

      The Catholic Church has not changed its doctrinal statements, of course – but neither has the Westminster Confession or the Thirty Nine Articles been revised.

  2. seenoevo says:

    It’s always a good time to read the Book. Even just a verse or two.

    Here are some Bible verses for today (Just a verse or three, even at the great risk of “proof-texting”. Shudder.) :

    “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with EVERY WIND OF DOCTRINE, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles.” [Ephesians 4:14]

    “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and DOCTRINES OF DEMONS” [1 Timothy 4:1]

    “holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people.
    For among them are those who make their way into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and swayed by various impulses,
    who WILL LISTEN TO ANYBODY and can NEVER ARRIVE AT A KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH.” [2 Timothy 3:5-7]

    • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

      Thankyou for confirming the value of my post calling for careful lingusitic study and exegesis. Satan can certainly use superficial modern understandings of Greek or Hebrew words, and human laziness, to delude the unwary.

      To me there’s nothing more demonstrative of that, as per your last quotation, than subordinating the power and sovereignty of God, especially in grace, to the human will. “lovers of self” comes to mind from v1 of that chapter – but I may be over-reacting.

  3. seenoevo says:

    Jon,

    “The Catholic Church has not changed its doctrinal statements, of course – but neither has the Westminster Confession or the Thirty Nine Articles been revised.”

    And as far as I know, divorce decrees/settlements don’t change either. However, maybe I just don’t know enough about them, or I haven’t tried to “read intelligently” about them. But I THINK that once the parties have signed and the lawyers allow the ink to dry, it’s a done deal, and the parties go their separate ways, quite possibly marrying and divorcing some more.

    I sometimes reflect on how the Westminster Confession is the product of a church – the Church of England – which itself was founded on divorce. And the divorcer, King Henry VIII, became the “pope” of his church.

    Nothing to lose your head over, I guess. Unless you’re Sir Thomas More.

    Some Bible verses for today:

    “But I say to you that every one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
    [Matthew 5:32] (See also Matthew 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18.)

    “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor ADULTERERS, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
    [1 Corinthians 6:9-10]

    • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

      The Westminster Confession was produced by an assembly of Divines during the Commonwealth, so had nothing to do with the Anglican Church or the King. Episcopalians like James Ussher took part, but so did Presbyterians, Independents and Erastians.

      I’m not in favour of capital punishment for offences against kings, but it was par for the course in Tudor times, whatever your religion – More’s successor lost his head too. But I suppose the six people burned at the stake under Thomas More’s chancellorship might have preferred to be simply beheaded, like him. Still, if More had managed to succeeed in his attempts to suppress the translation of the Bible into English, we’d both have had to learn Latin to discuss what it means here, so perhaps there’s an up side.

  4. seenoevo says:

    If one had read my last post in context and intelligently, he might have sensed that the post was not about divorce (or executions), per se.

    Rather, it was about the fact that stability, in and of itself, is not necessarily a good thing. Just as unity, in and of itself, is not necessarily a good thing. It depends what you’re stable or united about. (I’m sure virtually all of Germany was united under Hitler.)

    Stability of TRUTHFUL doctrine (e.g. Tradition with a capital “T”) and ‘unity IN THE TRUTH’ are necessarily good things.

    A divorce decree is a stable, unchanging thing. And the splitting parties are united about that divorce decree. Also stable and unchanging are the Westminster Confession and the Thirty Nine Articles. (And both are “divorces” from the Catholic faith which was about 15 centuries old/young at the time.).

    And at least one of these stable things is anathema to Jesus Christ.

    • James says:

      I think that the authors of both the 39 Articles and the Westminster Confession thought they were being true to the “catholic” faith of 15 centuries, even if they were breaking with the Roman Catholic Church. And in the final analysis, only the catholic faith is what matters; the Roman Catholic Church is an institution, and hence under the power of sin, and fallible in its interpretation of the catholic faith. If Christians are forced to choose between being catholic and being Catholic, they should always choose the former.

      Of course, it may be that very often the Roman Catholic Church is closer to the original catholic faith than any other church, and in all such cases its position should be supported; but the point is that the Church headed by the Bishop of Rome, like any other Church, is beholden to a standard of catholicity that is higher than itself.

    • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

      Seenoevo

      Don’t tell me your post had a figurative and metaphorical content beyond the superficial literal meaning? And there was I assuming I could read it as a plain, simple historical account.

      Lucky the Bible never does that, eh, or we’d all miss stuff in it.

  5. seenoevo says:

    Jon,

    “Don’t tell me your post had a figurative and metaphorical content beyond the superficial literal meaning? And there was I assuming I could read it as a plain, simple historical account. Lucky the Bible never does that, eh, or we’d all miss stuff in it.”

    I’ll tell you my post had figurative, metaphorical AND literal meaning. All of it worked together, all of it was true.

    Maybe you missed that.

    Sometimes the Bible is figurative, sometimes metaphorical, sometimes literal, and often times it’s all of them simultaneously. But it’s always at least one of these things. And regardless, it’s usually theological.

    If they’re not to be taken literally, can you tell me the figurative or metaphorical or theological meaning of the following verses?

    “And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.
    And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.” [Genesis 1:29-30]

    “if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.” [1 Timothy 3:15]

    And if that last verse is NOT to be taken literally, of what good is it to the believers?

    If it SHOULD be taken literally, of what good is it to believers if they can’t know with absolute confidence WHICH of the 30,000 churches is THE pillar and bulwark of the truth?

  6. seenoevo says:

    James,

    “I think that the authors of both the 39 Articles and the Westminster Confession thought they were being true to the “catholic” faith of 15 centuries, even if they were breaking with the Roman Catholic Church.”

    I think you may be right.

    “And in the final analysis, only the catholic faith is what matters”

    I think you’re right.

    “the Roman Catholic Church is an institution, and hence under the power of sin, and fallible in its interpretation of the catholic faith.”

    Please see my questions to Jon on 1 Timothy 3:15. How would you answer them?

    These are NOT rhetorical questions:

    1) Should Paul have instead said something like “…church of the living God, which is under the power of sin, and fallible in its interpretation of the catholic faith, but nevertheless is the pillar and bulwark of the truth. You’re on your own to guess which of the church’s interpretations are true. Peace be with you.” ?

    2) Should Jesus have instead said something like “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church under the power of sin, BUT the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven, BUT these bindings and loosings will be fallible.”

    3) If not restated like the above, how would your “king James” version read so that the meaning was clear for believers?

    “Of course, it may be that very often the Roman Catholic Church is closer to the original catholic faith than any other church, and in all such cases its position should be supported”

    And which human being(s) or church determines infallibly what is not only closer to, but is THE, original catholic faith?

    If no such infallibility exists, how can believers know truly what the original catholic faith is?

    • James says:

      Answer to the last question:

      The Orthodox have no trouble determining this, without reference to the rulings of the Bishop of Rome. So the thing must be possible.

  7. seenoevo says:

    James,

    The Orthodox Church has 7 sacraments, all the same as The RCC. Foremost of the 7 is the Eucharist, just as it is with the RCC.

    The Orthodox Church of America website says “The Holy Eucharist is called the “sacrament of sacraments” in the Orthodox tradition. It is also called the “sacrament of the Church.” The eucharist is the center of the Church’s life. Everything in the Church leads to the eucharist, and all things flow from it. It is the completion of all of the Church’s sacraments—the source and the goal of all of the Church’s doctrines and institutions… This food is the “mystical supper of the Son of God,” the body and blood of Christ, the mystery of the holy eucharist—the communion to Life Itself.”

    So, the Eucharist is not just a part, but an indispensable part, of what the Orthodox have determined is the “original catholic faith”. You wrote that “in the final analysis, only the catholic faith is what matters.”

    So then, assuming the catholic faith matters TO YOU, does your faith include everything described above that the Orthodox hold?

    P.S.
    Are you going to answer the other 5 questions I had for you in my 10:43 a.m. post?

    • James says:

      My point was that “the catholic faith” provides for the self-rule of each church (Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, etc.), provided that each church operates in accord with the teachings of the catholic faith. You believe, on the other hand, that the Bishop of Rome is the linch-pin of the whole catholic faith, that he even has the power to define the catholic faith, and that when he does, other churches outside of the Roman diocese must accept whatever definition he gives. But in the Orthodox conception the Pope has no such power. He has only the powers of a bishop over his diocese. He may have a sort of primacy of dignity in meetings of heads of churches; he cannot add or subtract doctrines from the catholic faith. I think the Orthodox conception of the Church is healthier, and less likely to decline into ecclesiastical tyranny.

      That was the only point I was making, not anything specific about sacraments, etc.

      P.S. I will answer all the questions you ask above, if you will answer the following questions:

      Are you currently a practicing Roman Catholic, as most people would understand that phrase? (I.e., attending Catholic services with some regularity, receiving communion, making confession to a priest, etc.) If not, then define more precisely your relationship with the Catholic Church. (For example, do you belong to a body of breakaway Catholics rather than the Catholic Church that most people would have in mind?)

      What academic diplomas and degrees do you possess, and in which subjects?

      What formal theological education do you have? (Specify as closely as possible.)

      What further formal theological education are you currently pursuing?

      What diocese do you currently live in, and do you acknowledge the authority of the Bishop of that Diocese to admonish you regarding Catholic doctrine?

      Which works (a partial list will do) of the Church Fathers have you read straight through? Which histories of the Church have you read straight through? Which of those were by Protestant or Orthodox historians? Which works of Luther, Calvin, Hooker, and Greek Orthodox divines have you read straight through? Or even in part?

      What other religious organizations or movements, within or without the Catholic Church, do you belong to or affiliate yourself with?

      If I don’t hear back from you on these questions, I’ll presume the conversation is over, and not trouble you again. Best wishes.

  8. seenoevo says:

    James,

    I found your last post to be absolutely reprehensible. It’s probably a good thing we’re not in the same room and I don’t have a whip of cords. (cf. John 2:15).

    I’ll take some deep breaths, and count to ten.

    You write:
    “My point was that “the catholic faith” provides for the self-rule of each church…provided that each church operates in accord with the teachings of the catholic faith… I think the Orthodox conception of the Church is healthier, and less likely to decline into ecclesiastical tyranny. That was the only point I was making, not anything specific about sacraments, etc.”

    That is either a bald-faced lie or one of the stupidest statements I’ve ever seen from you. You claim this “original catholic faith” is so important to you, and in fact is, in your words, the only thing that matters. Yet when I ask, over and over, what is the CONTENT of this “original catholic faith”, I get no answers. Even when I give an example of specific and indispensable content from the church YOU identify as having this faith (the Orthodox Church), you won’t speak to it. The ONLY thing you have to say about this “original catholic faith” is what you believe to be its proper decentralized authority structure, as exemplified by the OC. Well then, by that measure, all 30,000+ Protestant denominations and independent congregations are on-board with the “original catholic faith”, because they’re certainly decentralized and independent. I guess they’ll be “less likely to decline into ecclesiastical tyranny” too. And ecclesiastical chaos.

    “P.S. I will answer all the questions you ask above, if you will answer the following questions…”

    Just how stupid and/or senile and/or serpentine are you, James? I have clearly stated several times to you here (and to your twin, Eddie on BioLogos) that I am NOT going to reveal personal information (e.g. denomination/nondenomination, occupation, education). And AT LEAST ONCE here YOU AGREED (and your twin, Eddie at BioLogos, agreed), and said you would stick to the issues and arguments, and consider “resumés” out of bounds. Yet here you go again, asking for all this inside personal information. And more than that, you claim you have answers to my questions, but you’re withholding them until I pay-up with the personal [“If I don’t hear back from you on these questions, I’ll presume the conversation is over, and not trouble you again.”].

    How very, very convenient.
    .
    .
    .

    I think I’m at a loss for words. For one word, the thesaurus lists craven, dastardly, pusillanimous, and about 20 others. For another, it lists devious, perfidious, knavish, and about 30 others.

    I just can’t think, can’t decide.

    I’m going to watch some TV. I might find something worthwhile there.

    • James says:

      seenoevo:

      You are right to say that the only point I was making was about decentralized church structure, but my point was that this, and not the Roman structure, was the original “catholic” view of the church. And if you can show me where the error is in that statement, if you can show me that the Eastern Churches originally assented to the Roman model of Papal monarchy, and then abandoned it, with reference to primary source documents (Greek Fathers, Ecumenical Councils, Orthodox Church records, etc.) then obviously I will have to retract it. But in no way was it a “bald-faced lie,” i.e., a deliberate misrepresentation.

      As for the rest, while I agree with you in principle that it should be possible to have a good discussion of theological matters without knowing the other person’s biography, and while I have good theological conversations with 90% of the people I encounter on the internet without knowing a lot about their biography (though usually they incidentally and naturally reveal something of it, rather than hide it), I have found that in some cases, after banging my head against a brick wall for a long time because of a recalcitrance whose causes I cannot grasp and cannot bring out in conversation, I need to know where my conversation partner is “coming from,” as they say.

      Yours is one such case. Your brand of Catholic thought is so very far from the Catholicism of the scores of Catholics I have known (priests, religion professors, lay people, members of my own family), and from the Catholicism of the scores of Catholic clergy, scholars and lay people whose books I have studied, that I need help in locating it within the Catholic spectrum. You could be a Mel Gibsonite Catholic for all I know, or of some other Catholic organization or body that I know little or nothing about. Also, the level of personal anger that you show utterly stumps me, and it would help to know what sort of encounters in your life have generated it. But that said, I respect privacy and I understand if you want to reveal absolutely nothing and I will not press you further. Yet without such personal information, I simply cannot proceed. I am unwilling to spend any more time trying to guess at your Catholic orientation, your motives, your targets, etc. So I bid you farewell, and wish you well in all your undertakings.

  9. seenoevo says:

    “I am unwilling to spend any more time trying to guess at your Catholic orientation, your motives, your targets, etc. SO I BID YOU FAREWELL …”

    If only it were true. Maybe this time? AT LEAST one other time here you bid me a “permanent” adieu. But the “permanent” proved oh so temporary. And your twin Eddie did so about half a dozen times. And every time he lied. Or should I say he couldn’t keep his word?
    .
    .
    .

    Yawn.

    I’m going to bed.

    Farewell, James.

    Farewell, Eddie.

    Farewell, Diotrephes.

  10. Cal says:

    Me thinks that the weal of my body would be in mortal danger from divers tortures at the hands of Seenoevo and the flames of inquisition.

    Signed most respectfully,
    Cal of Vaudois

  11. seenoevo says:

    Cal,

    Are you with some here who say
    “Of course, it may be that very often the Roman Catholic Church is closer to the original catholic faith than any other church, and in all such cases its position should be supported… And in the final analysis, only the catholic faith is what matters” ?

    If so, are you likewise with some here who say the Orthodox have determined this faith?

    If so, do you hold to all sacraments the Orthodox hold to?

    .

    P.S.

    Does Cal of Vaudois know Richard Topcliffe?

    • Cal says:

      Nay for the Pope of Rome doth monstrously commandeth to obey more than Christ hath ordained and has repulsed the words of the Apostle who sayeth How be ye turned again to the feeble and needy elements, to the which ye will again serve?

      And nay, for Richard Topcliffe is a villain who serveth the monster Elizabeth, who proceedeth after the devilish Mary.

      Signed dutifully,
      A Peasant from Chelcice

  12. Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

    General notice: I’m afraid to have to say that, after numerous warnings, on and offline, and over many months, about directing ad hominem posts against other users here, I’ve felt it necessary to ban Gregory from the blog after yet another such message turned up in moderation.

    Insults against myself I will tolerate, up to a point, but insults against my guests will, as I’ve frequently said, be have to be made somewhere else.

  13. seenoevo says:

    Cal and Jon,

    And as old Will might have said

    “Thus Conscience, and answering basic direct questions, does make Cowards of us all, or at least of some.”

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