Mexican Jumping Beans

So over at Triablogue, against my better judgment, Steve Hays and I have been going at it. Steve has been kind enough to talk about the Protestant Confessional adherence to the Filioque, a doctrine he admits isn’t justifiable by Scripture alone. If you want to see how a Protestant jumps around trying to avoid the obvious internal inconsistency, go take a look at the comments here,  here and here.  Either they have to give up Sola Scriptura or their doctrine of the Trinity as confessionally stated in say the Westminster Confession or the London Baptist Confession. (Where is James White when you need him, eh?)  And don’t think things like the Covenant of Grace can go through without the assumptions that drive the Filioque. Anyway, its a real hoot to watch a Calvinist jump around.

Have a joyful and merry Christmass everyone.


  1. I agree with Mike in the first post, Perry. You can’t win with Hays, even when you win. He’s the Rowdy Roddy Piper of theological blogdom: “Just when you think you’ve got the answer, I change the question!”

  2. David,

    First, there are lots of people I interact with over an extended period of time that I don’t think of as sophistic. You, Michael Liccione, Alvin Kimel, Bryan Cross, etc.

    I just think that when its obvious that your position is in error, and you can’t bring yourself to admit it but take months to make excuses, thats usually indicative of a person that is not worth talking to any longer.

    As for the rest, it’ll come as no suprise that I disagree with you. That doesn’t make you a sophist, just wrong. 😛

  3. Perry,

    I’m sure this won’t surprise you (I’m stuck behind my lens, after all, eh?), but I didn’t find Steve’s comments anywhere near as bad as you have described them. Might I have taken a different line of argument? Sure. Heck, between MG and David Bradshaw I may even be inspired to take this issue to Synod/Presbytery someday and actively work to remove the filioque from the Creed as the Reformed churches confess it (in other words, I would make this issue a higher priority than Steve would). Still, that doesn’t mean his comments were dishonest, nor is he guilty of any more acrobatic feats than anyone else (yourself included).

    I do find it rather odd that almost everyone you dialog with ends up being a dishonest sophist (at least, those you can’t convince quickly). It’s good that you’re above such things. 🙂

  4. James D,

    We’d need to get the idea exegetically from those verses first. I don’t grant that we do. The exegesis of say John 15-16 will only grant the Filioque upon the assuption and importation of a certain understanding of divine simplicity, which is not taken from scripture but from philosophical theology.
    That is the only way the inference form the economia to theologia will go through. And that view of simplicity has even less exegetical support than the Filioque.

  5. I hardlythink Rev 22:1 is sufficient exegetically to derive the hypostatic origination of the Spirit from the Father and the Son.

    It (along with other verses) is enough to confess to Filioque, and to cover the charge of non-scriptural borrowing.

    Of course with the Filioque, everyone one on either side of the coin, claims to have the better exegesis, depending on what tradition they are attached to, just like ioannis has done.

  6. Whenever I read Perry’s apologetical stuff I am amazed. You’re a true philosopher, man: one who loves wisdom. We need to have lunch (if you remember us… we were the crazy convert ROCOR couple at the Orthodox Witness Conferences awhile back) sometime to catch up. Your kindness and well-reasoned answers helped my wife and me to embrace Orthodoxy some five years ago. I’m sure your prayers helped as well.

  7. That verse in my opinion, if you permit me my intervention, refers to the salvatory Economy that’s why the river proceeds from the Lamb, that is from the Incarnated (and even crucified) Logos.

  8. Sorry for the late reponse.

    I think his position is in far worse shape

    Perry you’re looking at this from your own point of view.

    I agree with you that his position is in worse shape, but IMO only because it does not posit apostolic succession.

    Quite frankly if i was a sola scriptura protestant, Revelations 22:1 alone is enough of a case for the Filioque. This along with other verses is enough to make a case for the Filioque without getting accused of borrowing from an external tradition.

  9. James,

    I am sure it might seem that way, but most of what I have seen is caricature, question begging, and a host of other fallacies. He has really failed to show defeaters from within the model. I already spent ten pages responding to the first volley. It should be clear that I am not without a possible response to his last round. The First to plead his case seems just, until another comes and examines him. Proverbs 18:17. If I don’t respond its a reflection of what Steve said himself “I have priorities.” Spending time with my family, looking for work, etc. seems more worthwhile than going round after endless round with Steve.

    Second, if you are going to make a claim that my position is almost as bad as the Protestant one, then you need to make an argument, otherwise comments like that don’t really deserve to see the light of the combox day.

    Third, even if true, I’ve now shown that the major Reformed Confessions are internally inconsistent betwen two major areas of Protestant theology. I’ve done so in a way that is unique. That all by itself is worth quite a bit. I don’t think you’ll find Catholic apologists arguing that Protestants can’t justify their doctrine of the Trinity from Scripture alone. You can hardly find any serious Protestant discussion of the doctrine except perhaps in the older works and those aren’t that exhaustive. Moreover, thats just one doctrine within the Confessional Protestant doctrine of God. I can show others and not just simplicity either that can’t be derived from via Sola Scriptura. So Protestants will need to pick between their traditional doctrine of God and the formal principle of the Reformation. They can’t maintain both except with increasing modificatons which not only start to look ad hoc real fast or leave a rump of the traditional doctrine left. So even if everything Steve said was true regarding the one criteria I discussed for a council to be ecumenical I think his position is in far worse shape. At least I don’t have to admit that my Church teaches a false doctrine of the Trinity.

  10. Hays = sophist extraordinaire, but he’s got some valid points especailly on you claim of pentarchial ratification. Your position is almost as bad as the protestant one because its not really viable

  11. I guess that after 5 centuries of Sola Scriptura Protestants have developed their own holy tradition.

    Merry Christmas.

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