It's not choosing, it's norming.
Ok, let's look at "norming" from the Protestant perspective:
Norm : A 'norm' is something by which other things are measured and judged. When the Bible is called the 'norm', it means that what we think, teach, and do must measure up to the standards of Scripture. A norm helps stop us from getting carried away with ourselves and our supposed wisdom. Many traditions speak of the 'norming norm' or 'norm within the norm' or 'material norm' : the Gospel message of God's forgiving love in Jesus Christ. This means that all the rest of the Bible is measured according to (or is 'normed' by) Christ and the Gospel message. The Bible is the 'norm' because of who stands behind it and whose story it tells. This puts the main focus where it belongs -- Christ, not Moses or David or Paul or John, or even the Bible.
Alright. That doesn't sound so bad upon first glance. But here's a problem:
Hebrews 5 and 6
11We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
1Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3And God permitting, we will do so.
Ok. This poses a big problem. For starters, we have all these groups. And each group is "norming" as you say and not "choosing". Yet, each group norms and still comes up with contradictory teachings. Look at the elementary teachings listed in Hebrews. You can't get different groups WITHIN Protestantism to agree on those elementary teachings. You just can't.
There's a reality here, in Hebrews, that can't be fulfilled by protestants. For one, the community that received this letter has in place the means to learn the elementary teachings ALL OVER AGAIN. Even prior to the arrival of the epistle of Hebrews. They knew about the "instruction about baptisms" because they were dunked either by the Apostles themselves OR those the Apostles dunked (baptized).
This is what makes these teachings about Christ, "elementary". You don't have to have a black-belt in scripture reading in order to know it. It's authoritative because it is in continuity with the teaching of the Apostles. This community that met the Apostles face to face and knew them personally as evidenced by the fact that the Apostles actually wrote a letter addressed to them. How can you write someone you don't know? You can't.
So the community's experience with the Apostles helps to inform the text if a question about the text should ever arise. This community doesn't gather the "instruction about baptisms" and the other elementary teachings of Christ based on scripture but on their experience with the Apostles. They are being told in this very epistle to take advantage of what is ALREADY in place. What is in place? The deposit of the faith. The teachings of the Apostles.
So if two guys read the scriptures and they both come up with independent teachings as to what these elementary teachings are, this community doesn't go to the scriptures but instead refers to their experience with the Apostles.
So let's call these two "hypothetical" guys, Johnny Baptist and Martha Pentecostal. They both come to this "community" that the Apostle wrote the epistle of Hebrews to and after reading the bible and norming their hearts out, decide they know what these "elementary" teachings about Christ are.
So they each take turns trying to convince others of their positions. Johnny gets a few people to agree with him based on the way he presents and arranges and interprets scripture and Martha does her presentation and so the rest of the folks who just don't know wonder which two are right. What to do?
Well, let's say that a five year old stands up and walks to the front where Johnny and Martha gave their presentation and stands right between these two really smart and charismatic presenters. He then explains something that he has that Johnny and Martha do not.
This little five year old was baptized by an Apostle.
Now, whatever this little five year old said about how to baptize and what the Apostle told him it meant, it should, if you are honest with yourself, trump anything that Johnny or Martha said.
That's the difference between the more ancient faiths on just the elementary teachings about Christ. And notice that is says, "about Christ"... "teachings" "about Christ".
Instructions on baptisms and laying on of hands is a teaching about Christ?
So what I say about baptism and the laying on of hands says something about WHO Christ is?
This is something that can not be reconciled in Protestantism as a whole. Their experience is only as deep as their ability to interpret goes and they can pull out the hebrew lexicon and get a Masters degree in Koine Greek and ancient culture and use the latest historical constructions of early Christianity and apply really well developed Philosophical models to help create context and devote their entire life to studying the scriptures. Whereas a mere child that had been baptized by an Apostle would easily trump them all simply because he has the experience.
When I say "choose wisely" I am saying that you can choose to follow the way of Johnny and Martha and norm your hearts out OR go to those very "communities" who preserved what was given to them by the Apostles to preserve.
My experience is that the false teacher generally tries to EVADE the issue of whether the teaching is correct, pointing instead to something about self alone that makes the issue moot. "God speaks to ME - I speak for God." "God is not accountable, I'm essentiall equal to God, so I'm not accountable." "God promised ME _____________ thus take your question about whether what I'm saying is true and go because it's moot in the sole case of me, says I."
Well sure. That's no good.
Or, Jesus founded ME, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to ME, the Holy Spirit inerrantly leads only ME, the only one that infallibly follows the Holy Spirit is ME. The sole interpreter is ME, the sole arbiter is ME, the sole authority is ME, truth matters in all cases except for ME. (Replace ME with any teacher - such as any denomination - and it's the same thing). As I studied several American "Christian" cults, I found no common denominator among them more stunning and more foundational that that (just replace "ME" with the claims of each alone for each alone - always with the point that truth is moot in the sole case of self, replaced by the issue of power of ME).
Well, refer to the story of the five year old. Is the five year old saying "I am right"? No. He is telling you what he was given to tell. His experience. Big difference.
Now, Johnny and Martha, after slinging all the verses they had in their cache on the subject, might after they reach a standstill, resort to, "the Holy Spirit told me" or "I have been given the Holy Spirit and it leads me" etc. to try and make their attempt sound authoritative. But the five year old in the end has something neither of two smarty pants has. Experience.
When the five year old reads or hears the epistle of Hebrews read he's going to have continuity. He's going to be able to go back to the basics. He's going to be able to discern where Johnny and Martha are wrong and where they are right and what they are missing. Does he have the authority to challenge them? Sure. All he has to do is present to them his experience, the text and leave the ball in their court.
Now in protestantism what would happen is Johnny would just start up his own Church and Martha.
Now, how does that reality justify your point that it's moot whether it's true or false that Mary Had No Sex Ever?
Hm. I'm not saying that whether it's true or not doesn't matter. Using my example of the five year old, it doesn't matter if I fully understand it or not or if I have a different understanding of the Holy Scriptures because at the end of the day, that five year old kid knows. For me, I'm not going to follow Martha or Johnny because I want to be in communion with the Apostles who are in communion with God.
1. I think you entirely missed my point. Perhaps you would re-read what you quoted from me....
2. I admit I'm largely ignorant of this concept. I don't know if it's dogma anywhere or what it exactly proclaims. But IF it is a doctrine, it is accountable. That would suggest to ME vis-a-vis Scripture. A hearty debate on that point would be good.
Well, that's the problem with the Protestant concept of "church". You guys are all the church. The whole body of conflicting individuals. You all have the authority of the church insofar as you interpret the bible correctly and yet there is no accountability for false interpretation according to the whole. How is it accountable to itself if the whole of protestantism embraces contradiction?
You can pretend that your little cog or denomination of Protestantism is independent from other Protestant groups but whatever you decide for self can't be applied outside of self. So even if two Lutherans say they aren't in communion, they still are as they both are part of the "whole" of protestantism. Otherwise, their entire ecclesiology falls apart. What they say Church is, ceases to be.
3. I realize that the RCC is in full doctrinal agreement with one: itself. It has a unity of self alone with self alone, a unity with exactly ONE: self. It agrees only with the ONE it itself sees in the mirror. ME. SELF.
Pentecostals look like Pentecostals, Baptists like Baptists, non-denominations like non-denominations, individual as an individual. Yet, according to the whole, you all say you are united because you believe that "Jesus" whoever he is, is guiding you to believe as you have come to believe.
It's the same. Same deal. No difference other than it's hard to find a protestant that will admit it.
But that unity is FAR, FAR less than it seems. It's PURELY official and formal and institutional and says NOTHING about any or all Christians and thus the church, and it ONLY applies to what the RCC alone CURRENTLY regards as good for it itself to agree with itself about.
Not true in Protestantism? So when they strip the altar or change the wine to jello shots or reduce the Trinity to Modalism this isn't institution? Who decides these things? Who "institutes" the policy change?
Is it any less official if your official statement is that you have no official statement? Is it any less institutionalized if you institute that no one may institute anything?
And in regards to saying "NOTHING about any or all Christians" when a certain protestant group decides to strip the altar do they do so in regard for other Christians or only in regard to self and what seems right to them(selves)?
By what authority?
Okay. I realize that. And I realize your point: there are other denominations that are no better in this regard. But I fail to see why that substantiates that if self alone agrees with self alone then the issue of whatever self alone says is exempt from the issue of whether it is correct?
Well, no. Wait. A "denomination" is not independent from the "whole" otherwise you destroy what you say "the Church" is - the body of individual and contradictory believers...
So you can't say that there are "other" denominations that are no better when in reality, according to the Protestant ecclessiology, those "no-betters" ARE the Church just as much as you are. Again, I'm saying that this is according to Protestant ecclessiology. You have to play by your own rules I think.
Oh, it certainly is not exempt from being correct just because someone or even a group agrees with self. I'm simply saying that you can't peg this on the RCC and fail to see it in Protestantism. If you believe the RCC is a cult then you necessarily have to see Protestantism as a cult.
Or are you TRYING to say taht since the RCC is as bad as some Protestant denominations in this regard, ergo those Protestant denominations are exempt from the issue of truth as well, and we all should embrace "the rapture" because self alone agress with self alone on it and it doesn't matter if it's true or not?
I'm not saying that the RCC is "bad". I'm just saying that you can't avoid this whole "self" thing you keep talking about.
And no. Of course not. I think you should not embrace false teachings such as the rapture etc.
Actually, I don't know of any Protestant denomination that has ANY doctrine of "Mary Had Lotsa Sex" or "Mary Had No Sex Ever."
I think you should take a sober look at Protestantism. Can I be protestant and believe that babies should be baptized? Yes. Can I be protestant and believe that babies should not be baptized? Yes.
Is there any official protestant doctrine either for or against regarding the whole of Protestantism? Nope. Otherwise they would answer with one voice. They still insist that they are united and in one accord. How, I don't know but ok. Doctrine and Dogma is EXPRESSED not according to the "whole" of Protestantism but according to the "individual".
Again. Doctrine and Dogma is expressed according to the individual in Protestantism. So as many "doctrines" or "dogmas" that a protestant might believe as an individual, the doctrine/dogma IS a Protestant teaching.
Read the replies on this thread. One fellow says, "the word of God says that Jesus had brothers and sisters". Now, does he speak for you? Nope. Does he speak for himself? He will say no. He is the mouthpiece for the "word of God".
Easy as that. You are in communion with him as you recognize him as "the Church". But not in communion with the RCC otherwise you can't be Protestant.
Yes, PROTESTANTS are permitted to have varient opinions about such because there is no dogma on the matter, but no Denomination is saying, "It's MOOT if She did or did not because whatever I myself alone says is exempt from that issue."
What dogmas are there that the whole of Protestantism shares? What doctrines? Not the elementary teachings as listed in Hebrews. So I can't imagine any doctrine or dogma would go beyond the elementary teachings. So ask yourself what dogmas/doctrines do Protestants as a whole?
Call no man father!
I have no idea how that replies to what I posted.
Was a lame joke. But just pointing at the fact that protestants have tradition. If you recognize that Luther is indeed a "father" of Lutheranism and indeed a "father" of the Protestant "faith" as it is delivered, then some might be willing to accept that there's some "tradition" there.
It's not dogma. Having no position is not the same as saying no position is possible. I have no position on whether there is life (as we know it) on other planets. I dont' say - one way or the other - as to whether such life exists or not. I DO think there probably IS an answer to that question but it currently appears not to exist among us. "I don't know" in no way means "it cannot be known."
But when the RCC says that there's life on other planets (to use your example) you call them gossips and slanderers. And if they are right? Who slandered who?
IF the RCC has the substantiation, it should share it. But as you've pointed out so very, very clearly - the RCC responds to the question by saying it doesn't MATTER if it's true.
I never said that. And if I did I would retract such a statement. They don't say it doesn't matter.
As it keeps pointing out, in a diversity of ways, over and over, truth is to waved and in its place, the RCC alone insists that all just be in quiet, docilic SUBMISSION to itself alone. Truth is replaced by submission, correct is replaced by power. Self trumps truth.
It's kind of hard to wag a finger at Catholics. Even if they are wrong, Protestants teach contradictory things within themselves and are divided against themselves and yet say they are united and then turn around and point outside of themselves and say, "false teachings! false teachings!". You guys are riddled with them. Only difference is that you overlook those committed under your own banner and then try to light a match to Rome's.
When the Protestants all believe one thing then maybe there will be a bit more credibility there.
You are simply accurately giving the RCC position. Truth has been waved, the RCC's insistence that all just be in quiet submission to itself has been substituted.
Two contradictory teachings can't be right and yet you embrace it within Protestantism and Protest it outside of Protestantism in order to "be" Protestant.
Doesn't make sense.
But as you pointed out, the RCC position is that it doesn't matter if it's true.
That is not the RCCs position. For some reason you are trying to assume that this is the case. It's not.
I'm still a bit in the dark as to how abandoning the issue of whether this dogma is true or not has any relevance to whether it's true or not.
You don't abandon the issue. But if you're protestant there's no resolution. You adhere to your tradition. You can only quietly submit to personal belief but in Protestantism it just gets boiled down to a novel opinion to either have or reject.
Or why it means the RCC can condemn ME for not teaching correctly (truth matters if I teach it) but no one can even ask a question of the RCC because truth does not matter there, says itself.
You can ask them questions. People do all the time.