Lexham Survey of Theology - feedback

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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 15 2018 1:17 PM

Hamilton Ramos:

SineNomine:

When you say protestant, do you mean evangelical,  born again, non-charismatic?

I mean 'Protestant'.

Hamilton Ramos:
Can you specify more what do you mean by protestant.

Further specification is irrelevant to my concern.

Consider, by analogy, if I brought a (thoroughly fictitious) book to you and said, "This book declares that it's Baptist, but it's actually Anglican." Whether the book's perspective turned out to be high church, low church, or broad church; whether it articulated as truth the ideas of the Caroline divines, the Tractarians, or the Latitudinarians; whether it contains a self-contradicting mish-mash of all of the above and more... such facts would be irrelevant. The problem would be that the book is Anglican, but it presents itself as Baptist.

LST is Protestant, and it presents itself as objective. That is the problem that caused me to start this lengthy thread.

I believe that Faithlife is morally obliged to correct this deception, and I hereby again request that Faithlife fix it.

No one from Faithlife has responded to my actual request so far, even though Faithlife is well aware of this thread.

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Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2018 3:03 AM

SineNomine: But isn't the fact that it says Lexham a clear denotation that is an evangelical product?

"As an evangelical publisher, all our works are harmonious with the beliefs and traditions of the Christian church as reflected in the Apostles’ Creed and the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association’s Statement of Faith."

"MISSION Lexham Press seeks to increase biblical literacy, thoughtful Christian reflection, and faithful action around the world by publishing a range of evangelical Bible study materials, scholarly works, and pastoral resources."

Both quotes directly from:

https://lexhampress.com/about

So the question would be if Verbum will eventually do a "Verbum survey of theology". 

Kind Regards.

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Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2018 3:48 AM

Hamilton Ramos:

"As an evangelical publisher, all our works are harmonious with the beliefs and traditions of the Christian church as reflected in the Apostles’ Creed and the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association’s Statement of Faith."

"MISSION Lexham Press seeks to increase biblical literacy, thoughtful Christian reflection, and faithful action around the world by publishing a range of evangelical Bible study materials, scholarly works, and pastoral resources."

Both quotes directly from:

https://lexhampress.com/about

Cannot be clearer. 

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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2018 9:24 AM

I think the problem here comes from its use in the Theology Guide. Ideally the guide could work for everyone - Protestant, Catholic, or anyone for that matter. All Faithlife users read the Survey, even without knowing anything about "Lexham", just by opening the Guide.

Most scholarly works are actually used without problems by both Protestants and Catholics. That is precisely one of the things that make them "scholarly." It's not that difficult, it just requires a different methodology. Most Lexham products are exemplar in this respect. The Lexham Survey of Theology, however, is not. When it speaks about Catholicism or specifically Catholic beliefs, it doesn't do so in a way Catholics can identify with. Note that the complaint isn't so much about how it presents Christian or specifically Protestant beliefs - it does that just fine.

Explaining Catholicism in a way Catholics can identify with isn't in any way contrary to Evangelical beliefs or the Lexham mission statement. On the contrary, it is a reflection of seeking the truth, trusting that doing so in an honest fashion will lead us to God.

Until this is done, SineNomine's request that the product description say that this is a Protestant work is perfectly reasonable.

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Mattillo | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2018 9:43 AM

I think what Hamilton was trying to say was that it should automatically be understood that lexham resources are Protestant unless said otherwise. If that is the case, labeling it Protestant would be redundant.

Maybe I misunderstood though

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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2018 10:45 AM

Mattillo:

I think what Hamilton was trying to say was that it should automatically be understood that lexham resources are Protestant unless said otherwise. If that is the case, labeling it Protestant would be redundant.

Yes, I understood Hamilton the same way.

If it wasn't clear, my response was an attempt to explain why I think, in this particular case, labeling it as Protestant wouldn't be redundant, as it is presented as the text of the Theology Guide. If it were simply a book in Logos libraries, and nothing more, it wouldn't be so much of an issue.

Faithlife advertises that in the Theology Guide you can "see how theologians and traditions throughout history have understood the doctrine." They decided to include Catholic theology in that presentation. That presentation doesn't reflect Catholic theology in a way Catholics can identify with. And this product is being presented to all, Protestants, Catholics, etc. as a product that, among other things, represents how Catholic tradition understands doctrine. If it were just one more Protestant Systematic Theology that misrepresents Catholic thought, fine, its easy to understand. But as the "official" explanation of Catholicism offered by Faithlife it is a problem (and not just for Verbum users or for Catholics... in fact, maybe it is less of a problem for them, as they can easily detect that this doesn't represent Catholicism).

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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2018 3:35 PM

Hamilton Ramos:

SineNomine: But isn't the fact that it says Lexham a clear denotation that is an evangelical product?

"As an evangelical publisher, all our works are harmonious with the beliefs and traditions of the Christian church as reflected in the Apostles’ Creed and the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association’s Statement of Faith."

"MISSION Lexham Press seeks to increase biblical literacy, thoughtful Christian reflection, and faithful action around the world by publishing a range of evangelical Bible study materials, scholarly works, and pastoral resources."

Both quotes directly from:

https://lexhampress.com/about

No, actually, it's not. There are a couple reasons for that, in addition to what Fr. Devin has noted since your post.

First, there are a number of Lexham publications that are not evangelical in perspective. As some examples from my library, I offer The Lexham Latin-English Interlinear Vulgate (neutral), 40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers (various), 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Medieval Church (various), Orthodoxy (Audio) (Anglican, but most people think it's Catholic), The Imitation of Christ (Audio) (Catholic), 300 Quotations and Prayers for Christmas (various), The Apostolic Fathers Greek-English Interlinear (if anything, Catholic/Orthodox), 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans (Puritan), The Lexham Analytical Lexicon to the Septuagint (neutral), On the Incarnation of the Word of God (Audio) (Catholic/Orthodox), The Confessions of St. Augustine (Audio) (Catholic/Orthodox, as translated by a Tractarian Anglican), 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Early Church (Catholic/Orthodox).

There's no particular reason for the average Catholic Verbum customer to think that everything Lexham puts out is evangelical. Frankly, the average Catholic Verbum customer is only aware of Verbum.com, and doesn't do much, if anything, in the way of research into specific books and whatnot. Most Catholics--and most other FL customers--are not going to go to LexhamPress.com.

Second--and this compounds the issue immensely--LST advertises itself as "objective, sympathetic, reverent, and written from a scholarly perspective." I don't really expect the latter three most of the time with regard to aspects of Catholicism or the Orthodox churches in Protestant publications. But if a resource is going to advertise itself as "objective", plus all of that other stuff, and especially if it is going to be positioned by FL as a resource for use by all Christians (see Fr. Devin's comments on the Theology Guide), then it had better actually be objective, and it had better accurately reflect the beliefs and practices of Orthodoxy and Catholicism (and the various Protestant traditions it discusses). LST does not do this. (Fr. Devin has been writing that very kindly by saying that its presentations of Catholicism are not ones that Catholics identify with. To be a bit more direct, they're wrong.)

The LST and LST video resources are the only Lexham Press products I am aware of that advertise themselves as "objective". They do not advertise themselves as Protestant, evangelical, or what-have-you. They are built into the Theology Guide, which is part of both Logos 8 and Verbum 8. Plus, they advertise themselves as "small-o orthodox", which to Catholic and Orthodox readers suggests our inclusion, not exclusion.

On the Logos blog, Mark Ward wrote:

Mark Ward:
The LST provides a brief (300–1000-word) introduction to each of its 234 theological topics, written by a multi-denominational group of Protestant theologians. Contributors were asked to be objective, sympathetic, reverent, and scholarly. Each introduction includes a brief definition and an article-length description of the orthodox (small-“o”) approach to that doctrine.

It would be sufficient to include the fact that LST was written "by a multi-denominational group of Protestant theologians" in the resource's description as viewed in the Library Information panel to fulfill the request that began this thread. Yes, that's not the same as saying that LST has a Protestant viewpoint, but even this would (sadly) meet the need of warning people, especially but by no means only Verbum customers, that LST (probably) isn't trustworthy when it's talking about people and things that aren't Protestant.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2018 5:05 PM

SineNomine:
that LST (probably) isn't trustworthy when it's talking about people and things that aren't Protestant.

Actually by the measure of it's treatment of the New Testament canon, I don't consider the LST as trustworthy on any topic.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 540
Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2018 6:22 PM

Fair enough Fr. Devin.

Now that the root problem is clearly delineated, is there a way you or some other  knowledgeable person of things Catholic can contact privately the editor of LST to inquire who wrote the mischaracterizing elements in Catholic doctrines, so that conversation can be had with the person (s) to try to solve the situation?

I particularly would like to see the Catholic related entries, articulated by knowledgeable Catholics, same for East Orthodox. and if applicable to also the Charismatics.

Now I do not know if that is possible.

Even though I have Verbum, I can only run one (either Logos or Verbum) in my computer so I do not duplicate resources that would swallow my hard drive space. If LST is part of the Verbum guides, then I understand the potential problems with that if the doctrines do not represent actual dogma.

Kind regards.

Posts 540
Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2018 6:34 PM

Sine Nomine, what you describe here is serious, so LST is tied up to guides in Verbum and persons are not aware that the descriptions related to Catholic topics are not representative of the actual dogma?

Do you know if Verbum's staff is Catholic? how did they allow the above situation to happen if they are? were they not allowed to check?

This is strange, looks like some quality controls were missing.

Could it be that the project was under time constraints or budget limitations?

From the experience I have with FL, I would not think that there was malicious intent in this, but obviously something was not right if quality check for content was not done properly on an important work like LST.

I do hope Verbum comes up with the Catholic version of the survey, so comparative studies can be done.

Kind regards.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 17 2018 7:15 PM

Hamilton Ramos:
I do hope Verbum comes up with the Catholic version of the survey, so comparative studies can be done.

As a Catholic I am opposed to this option just as I am opposed to some of the interpretative tagging that exists in the Bible tagging. I want Logos/Verbum to be a tool - and a tool is neutral. I am also opposed to Logos misrepresenting any denomination in materials intending to be a portion of a tool.

Hamilton Ramos:
I would not think that there was malicious intent in this,

No, the issue is ignorance and trusting ill-informed "scholars".

Hamilton Ramos:
Do you know if Verbum's staff is Catholic?

Some of them are. But there is no reason to waste our time on how Logos got here this particular time. We can do two things (a) enter error reports for all cases where we find the LST to be factually inaccurate and (b) press for a review by a broader spectrum of scholars.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 18 2018 1:44 AM

MJ. Smith:
I want Logos/Verbum to be a tool - and a tool is neutral.

This is an impossible goal (as I assume you know).

We can't begin to address the problems with LST without acknowledging that when you're writing a book (or creating a tool), it's not just the people who write the book (or create the tool) that matter. It's also the people who read/use it.

Even if it was possible to create a neutral tool (which I don't think it is), it's effect would not be neutral. It will be read and understood differently by people with different beliefs. If Group A writes about Group B, using Group A's language and taken into consideration Group A's presuppositions, it might simultaneously accurately convey the ideas of Group B to Group A whilst also leaving Group B feeling they're being wrongly represented. Yet if the text was changed so that Group B felt it was accurate, it would no longer use Group A's language and presuppositions, and therefore Group A might well misunderstand what was being said — to the point that Group A now understand less about Group B than they did before, even though (technically) the second version is more faithful to Group B's own understanding.

I don't know enough about Catholicism to know whether the LST does a good enough job in this specific instance.* But I do know enough about the principles to know that a neutral work that communicates everything about everyone is an impossible task.

* It would be helpful to me to see a specific paragraph that seems a misrepresentation and its suggested replacement, if someone was willing/able to do that.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 18 2018 2:34 AM

Mark Barnes:

MJ. Smith:
I want Logos/Verbum to be a tool - and a tool is neutral.

This is an impossible goal (as I assume you know).

Perfectly neutral may be impossible but a number of academic resources on similar material come very close. Yes, it takes care to be explicit as to what language/presupposition pair is being used in a particular section ... it is up to the reader to pay attention to the specified language/presuppositions. However, the errors I noted in canon formation depends on neither language or presuppositions ... it depends upon a commitment to accuracy. I believe Fr. Devin gave an example ... was it on purgatory? And I gave an example of the date the New Testament canon was "settled".

Given that some forms of Christianity are splintered to the level of individual families, or perhaps to unique individuals, trying to represent "everyone" is not an appropriate goal. However, one can provide the main treads of which most denominations are a mix and match blend - that is to say on a given topic there is a manageable finite number of common views to present. If that was not assumed to be true, the LST would not even be attempted.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Damian McGrath | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 18 2018 5:03 AM

MJ. Smith:
Fr. Devin gave an example ... was it on purgatory?

i gave that example on page three.  There are four sentences and not one of them corresponds to Catholic teaching/understanding. They are so far off the mark that it is beyond parody.

"Based on how sorrowful believers are in confessing their sins (contrition), such temporal punishment is removed. Nevertheless, since believers are never perfectly contrite, some temporal punishment needs to be suffered. This is the rationale for the priest’s act of assigning penance. When penance is not completed on earth, then it must be completed in purgatory in the afterlife."

Last sentence only: no Catholic believes that if they don’t complete their assigned penance after confession/absolution that they need to spend “time” in purgatory to complete it. 

Posts 540
Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 18 2018 5:06 AM

MJ. Smith:
As a Catholic I am opposed to this option just as I am opposed to some of the interpretative tagging that exists in the Bible tagging. I want Logos/Verbum to be a tool - and a tool is neutral. I am also opposed to Logos misrepresenting any denomination in materials intending to be a portion of a tool.

I perfectly understand the virtue of having a neutral tool, but neutral mean that no misrepresentation (accidental or otherwise) happens, so would it not be correct to have knowledgeable persons of the particular tradition check to see that it is accurate?

MJ. Smith:
trusting ill-informed "scholars"

Precisely a point, we want truly representatives of the tradition, and with knowledge to correctly articulate the doctrines.

The reason why I think Verbum should do a separate survey is because not many protestants will correctly articulate the key points of moral theology, and the different possible applications of it (to give and example).

Kind regards.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 18 2018 8:37 AM

MJ. Smith:
I believe Fr. Devin gave an example ... was it on purgatory? And I gave an example of the date the New Testament canon was "settled".

I appreciated the examples given earlier in the thread, but unless I've missed one, I couldn't remember situations where people had proposed an alternative. (I'll understand if someone doesn't want to go to the trouble of that, but it would perhaps be useful an exemplar.)

MJ. Smith:
Perfectly neutral may be impossible but a number of academic resources on similar material come very close.

Yes, because academia has an agreed way of doing precisely that. Academics speaking academic-language can (partly) achieve this neutrality. But outside of that agreement the whole concept breaks down. To give just one example, there was a fuss here in the UK a few days ago because an historic building that was open to the public and owned by a large national charity had replaced "BC" and "AD" on its signs with "BCE" and "CE". In so doing, they're adopting common 'neutral' symbols, that have been used for decades in academia. But, nonetheless, there was something of a minor outcry from some sections of the British public. It was no doubt intended to be 'neutral', but many people saw it as anti-Christian.

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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 18 2018 1:23 PM

Mark Barnes:

I appreciated the examples given earlier in the thread, but unless I've missed one, I couldn't remember situations where people had proposed an alternative. (I'll understand if someone doesn't want to go to the trouble of that, but it would perhaps be useful an exemplar.)

Before the Lexham Survey of Theology was published, Sean Boisen very kindly reached out to me and asked for some feedback. I have not published the critique I sent him because it enters into theological argumentation, and I'm afraid some will misunderstand the context of the post on these forums and start a theological argument. If any are interested in the whole email, feel free to contact me privately and I'd be happy to share it.

But, since you asked, here is a small excerpt from that email dealing with the article "The Church as Universal" (or "catholic").

I think this is actually an interesting example, because the explanation that is given of what a Catholic thinks of "universal" has almost nothing to do with how a Catholic actually understands "universal" or "catholic". It would be simple enough (and arguably far more formative for all) to explain briefly how Catholic theology understands "catholic" or "universal".

Excerpt from Fr Devin's analysis of the Lexham Survey of Theology:

Text from the Lexham Survey of Theology: In the subsequent history of the church, there have been essentially two approaches to the catholicity of the church. The first approach, known as “apostolic succession,” can be found in Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and some forms of high-church Anglicanism. According to this view, Christ founded the church as an institution governed by the apostles. The apostles bequeathed this institution and their authority to the later bishops of the church, who in turn handed it over to a succession of bishops up to the present. The catholicity of the church can therefore be found in its institutional continuity with the apostles and their successors. Fellowship with the institutional church ensures fellowship with the universal church and the true faith.”

  • I don’t feel this really reflects a Catholic understanding of “catholic” or “universal”. Rather, it seems to reflect more a partial understanding of what “apostolic” means (within the phrase “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church”, which is what this section of the Lexham Survey is analyzing).
  • For the Catholic Church (cf. Catechism 830-856), at its deepest theological level, the Church is Catholic because she is the Body of Christ. As St. Ignatius of Antioch said, “Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church” (cf. CCC 830, my emphasis). In Christ Jesus is found the fullness or totality of all the means of salvation, and thus he is, by definition as it were, universal or catholic, and so is his body, which shares in the totality and thus in the universality or catholicity of all that Christ Jesus gave us. The first understanding of catholicity, therefore, regards the universality of all of Christ’s gifts of salvation, which is shared with his body, the church.
  • A second meaning, directly derived from this first one, is that the Church is thus called to evangelize all people, sharing those gifts with them, and allowing them to become a part of the Body of Christ. As in Christ Jesus and in his Body is found the totality and fullness, there can be salvation through no one else, and the mission is thus universal.
  • Another step derived from this is that, as the fullness of Christ Jesus is found in his Body, which is the Church, insofar as someone separates himself or herself from the Church (i.e. from the Body of Christ), they deprive themselves of some of those means of salvation, of some measure of Jesus Christ and his grace. They may still be in the Body of Christ (and thus in the Church), even if not in the visible Church, but do not receive the fullness or universality/catholicity of Christ Jesus because of this partial division.
  • The causes of this separation can be many – moral, intellectual, spiritual, etc., and can include separation from the institutional Church founded by Christ, but this is not the only way, nor is it at the heart of what catholicity is about for Catholics.
  • Rather, the heart is the totality of grace and life offered by Christ to his Body, the Church, and the universal mission directly derived from that gift. Both of those are what the Church is “catholic” means for a Catholic.

FWIW, in the email I also made critiques of other parts of this article, but they are such that I am sure that I (or many Catholic theologians) could pretty easily sit down with the author of this article and come to a revision of the article that all could be very happy with in an hour or two.

The section specifically on how Catholics understand catholicity could easily be summed up in the same amount of words currently used, but along the lines of what I mention above (which simply reiterates what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says), instead of the perspective offered in the article, which puts the center of the issue on the question of a rather secondary issue of apostolicity, instead of on how we understand catholicity. Of course, the two topics are related, but there is an article on "the Church as apostolic" for a reason. And the Catholic  understanding of "catholic" is different enough from what was proposed in the body of the article that it is worth explaining. At the very least, it is a shame that the paragraph about the Catholic understanding of catholic has little to do with the Catholic understanding of catholic.

This type of critique could, unfortunately, be made for many, maybe most?, of the articles in the Lexham Survey. Thus it isn't enough to just post a couple of examples on the forums and ask for them to be corrected. The problems like that of this article are present throughout.

But always in ways that seem to me to be resolvable in ways that can be satisfactory for all involved.  I have yet to see an article in this work that seems to me can't be salvaged.

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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 18 2018 1:42 PM

Mark Barnes:

Even if it was possible to create a neutral tool (which I don't think it is), it's effect would not be neutral. It will be read and understood differently by people with different beliefs. If Group A writes about Group B, using Group A's language and taken into consideration Group A's presuppositions, it might simultaneously accurately convey the ideas of Group B to Group A whilst also leaving Group B feeling they're being wrongly represented. Yet if the text was changed so that Group B felt it was accurate, it would no longer use Group A's language and presuppositions, and therefore Group A might well misunderstand what was being said — to the point that Group A now understand less about Group B than they did before, even though (technically) the second version is more faithful to Group B's own understanding.

I think with a tool like this a middle ground can be found. It isn't hard to imagine a Survey of Theology that attempts to present Christian thought, and does so by presenting what is common, then by presenting what is specific to different groups. The different groups could be Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, or some major tradition within any of those, etc. Whenever a groups or traditions opinion is presented, it should reflect what they really think about that issue, and should try to present it in a way that group can identify with.

This could certainly create occasionally situations where a reader is surprised or feels they don't quite understand something being said. That is a positive situation, as it means they either have come to understand them better, will hopefully investigate and learn more, or at the very least have learned they don't understand. What needs to be avoided are presentations that make people think they understand a tradition, when they are in fact being led to misunderstand that tradition.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 18 2018 2:59 PM

Fr Devin Roza:

Excerpt from Fr Devin's analysis of the Lexham Survey of Theology:

Text from the Lexham Survey of Theology: In the subsequent history of the church, there have been essentially two approaches to the catholicity of the church. The first approach, known as “apostolic succession,” can be found in Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and some forms of high-church Anglicanism. According to this view, Christ founded the church as an institution governed by the apostles. The apostles bequeathed this institution and their authority to the later bishops of the church, who in turn handed it over to a succession of bishops up to the present. The catholicity of the church can therefore be found in its institutional continuity with the apostles and their successors. Fellowship with the institutional church ensures fellowship with the universal church and the true faith.”

  • I don’t feel this really reflects a Catholic understanding of “catholic” or “universal”. Rather, it seems to reflect more a partial understanding of what “apostolic” means (within the phrase “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church”, which is what this section of the Lexham Survey is analyzing).

Just for people's amusement. My first reaction reading the LST here was "where is the Finnish Lutheran crisis?" from Wikipedia:

The apostolic succession of the Church is considered to have remained intact through the proper ordination of bishop Mikael Agricola, but it was broken in 1884 when all the Finnish Lutheran bishops died within a year. The succession remained valid in the Church of Sweden from where it was returned in the 1930s by the ordination of the bishop of Tampere. However, the concept of apostolic succession is important foremost in ecumenical contexts, particularly in dealings with the Anglican Communion.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Mike Pettit | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 18 2018 4:21 PM

Fr Devin Roza:

Whenever a groups or traditions opinion is presented, it should reflect what they really think about that issue, and should try to present it in a way that group can identify with.

…. What needs to be avoided are presentations that make people think they understand a tradition, when they are in fact being led to misunderstand that tradition.

This is a serious discussion with serious points being made but at it best Protestantism really believes it is being objective, and tries to be so, but the fact that those it is interpreting do not think that they are being dealt with fairly does not necessarily mean that they are not.     

The Reformation was led by serious people who understood Roman Catholic theology but thought that this theology meant that what they believed was not what they said they believed. 

You cannot impose a definition of objectivity that seeks to prevent people disagreeing with you because you do not identify with the challenge. 

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