March 25, 2013

Vatican II Quotes that Divide

by Clint Archer

I like that the new Pope Francis has elected a popmobile without the bullet proof fish tank. Not because I’m looking forward to his successor, but because I think it’s a great statement of faith in God’s sovereignty: Catholic by theology, Calvinist by practice.

Since Steve’s radio interview about Cripplegate’s polemic posts (not that we’ve said anything fresher than what Luther said 500 years ago), I thought I’d bring back to our attention some quotes from Vatican II to remind us, basically, that “they started it.”

From October 1962 until December 1965, the Second Vatican Council was held to address the Catholic Church’s relationship to the Modern world (read: update God’s revelation to deal with the Pill, etc.)

The authority of the documents published by this council—known in Catholic shorthand as “Vatican II”—are considered to be on par with Scripture. This would have been an ideal time to rectify some of the issues Luther had with his mother church. But alas Vatican II made the Roman Catholic Church more Roman and less catholic (universal) than ever.

To help you decide if Protestantism is outmoded, pertinacious or passé, I offer a few lines from the horse’s own vocal chords for your consideration.


The section titled, “Apostolic Constitutions on the Revision of Indulgences” is dated 1 January 1967. This would be the most opportune place to denounce the crass practice of indulgences (manmade ways of expiating sin) which was addressed by Luther’s first thesis. Instead Pope Paul VI subtitled the first chapter “Indulgence are Founded in Divine Revelation” and writes,

If we wish to understand exactly the doctrine of indulgences and its benefits in practice, we must remember truths which the whole Church, enlightened by God’s word, has always believed. These truths have been taught by the bishops, who are the successors of the apostles…throughout the centuries to this day.” (Sect 6, chapt 1, para 1).



The Pope went on to explain,

Sins must be expiated. This may be done on this earth through the sorrows, miseries, trials of this life and, above all, through death. Otherwise the expiation must be made in the next life through fire and torments or purifying punishments… The doctrine of purgatory clearly demonstrates that even when the guilt of sin has been taken away, punishment for it or the consequences of it may remain to be expiated or cleansed. They often are. In fact, in purgatory the souls of those who died in the charity of God and truly repentant, but who had not made satisfaction with adequate penance for their sins and omissions are cleansed after death with punishments designed to purge their debt.”( (Sect 6, chapt 1, para 3).

So, even the truly repentant sinner still needs to be punished, contra Rom 5: 6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly…6: 10For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.

Mary Co-Redeemer

Section 28 titled “the Church” in chapt 8 (dated 21 Nov 1964) states,

The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith…death through Eve, life through Mary,” (Para 56).

Yikes. And,

In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the work of the Savior in restoring supernatural life tot souls,” (Para 61).

Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside her saving office, but by her manifold intercession continues to bring gifts of eternal salvation…, Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles Advocate, Helper, Benefactress and Mediatrix.” (Para 62).

Our response?

Rom 5: 19For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

1 John 2: 1My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

1 Tim 2: 5For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

Methinks Martin Luther would in this modern era drive his VW Beetle (or other German car) straight to Home Depot, purchase a mallet and some 2 inch nails, and find the closest door to start pounding on.

The Protestant church is hoarse from protesting the same issues for 500 years. But the YRR crowd are reviving a new generation of Reformers. And is one of many new Wittenberg doors.


Clint Archer

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Clint has been the pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church since 2005. He lives in Durban, South Africa with his wife and four kids.
  • Arnaldo Achucarro

    I would like to know if I can translate some of your posts into Spanish, I believe it would be a blessing for many. Please let me know.

    • Sí Hermano. If it’s on the blog, its yours to spread. Gracias a vosotoros!

      • Arnaldo Achucarro

        Gracias! SDG

  • Simple_Elder

    Guys, you aren’t in Protestant Churches. It is wonderful that you hold to the sola’s, but you neither hold to nor support protestant ecclesiology. And among those who do, they view your association as crassly gratuitous and pick-and-choose delicatessen.

    Consider what David Martyn Lloyd Jones said when speaking of reformation:

    “in all fairness, the Reformers were concerned to bring back the New Testament idea; but they failed.”

    • Uh, thanks for the existential crisis you just caused! Now I really feel like a boy names Sue with no last name. But I think on the flowchart of schisms and isms, any non-Catholic is in the Protestant camp. If we had a more specific label machine, we could get more picky about the taxonomy, but for the point of the blog, I feel our readership understands that our soteriology is more closely aligned to the Reformers than our ecclesiology would be (or eschatology for that matter). Thanks though.

  • Excellent post, and of course, it also helps to remind the readers that historically, when Godly men have resisted these teachings and taught instead what the Bible teaches as truth, the satanic fusion of Rome/State has seen to it that these men were burned alive as martyrs (burning men alive for their beliefs is also a teaching difficult to find in Scripture…)

    • Sadly, both camps have blood on their hands and smoke in their history. No Christian should desire malice for an opponent, theological or otherwise. Loving your enemies and setting them on fire has got to be mutually exclusive. Call me simplistic, but silencing opposition tends to muffle the very debate which sharpens our theology and provides people with well-articulated option for which to opt. No one should ever have to profess a belief in the gospel because they fear being executed for rejecting it.

    • Sadly, both camps have blood on their hands and smoke in their history. No Christian should desire malice for an opponent, theological or otherwise. Loving your enemies and setting them on fire has got to be mutually exclusive. Call me simplistic, but silencing opposition tends to muffle the very debate which sharpens our theology and provides people with well-articulated option for which to opt. No one should ever have to profess a belief in the gospel because they fear being executed for rejecting it.

      • Elissa

        Hear, hear. We should definitely be able to discuss these issues honestly without burnings at the stake. While reading this blog over the past couple of weeks has shown me that there is still theological division, I hope that is one thing that has changed in 500 years.

        • Thanks Elissa. Sometimes division is a helpful way for groups of like-minded believers to unite with each other and get to work for the kingdom. Who’s right about what will be settled in heaven.

  • Simple_Elder

    Clint – The Lord has not raised you and your fellows up at this time in history to deli-pick on the borrowed capital of Protestantism.

    I’m guessing that you, like me, have never belonged to a Protestant Church. So how can you say, “The Protestant church is hoarse from protesting the same issues for 500 years” if you’ve never been a part of one?

    • Brother, first I would suggest that this conversation would be helped by your actual name and the ontology of your own ecclesiological commitments – anonymity is the scourge of internet discussions. Besides, we too are just “Simple Elders.”

      Second, to say that we’re not the heirs of the same theological commitments and even historic traditions of the Protestant Reformation, notwithstanding important differences, is to be the one who’s self-selecting cold-cuts at the back of the store. The trunks of church history and confluence of various theological tribes is complex and definitely not neat. Unless, of course, you’re one of those Baptist groups that can trace themselves all the way back to eating locusts with John in a single line – or part of the Restoration (Church of Christ) sects. Those are always fun charts, aren’t they? And it’s quite convenient to be able to clean up your own heritage and avoid any association with the low-points of dogma’s progress. Ironically, it’s the non-Catholic version of Roman Catholic method at historical revision.

      Of course, you’re right that none of us are part of any formal
      Protestant denominations – and many of our magisterial heroes would likely be
      drowning us about five centuries ago. But the roots of “free church” or “independent” traditions grew out of the magisterial Protestant soil – not ignoring the medieval heroes (e.g., Waldensians) or pre-Reformation groups (e.g., Lollards). You can see it in the Reformation itself as many of our Anabaptist
      friends and other free spirits were building quite explicitly on the
      spade work of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, etc.

      And that’s the point. There are no neat lines in the streams of Church history.

      • Uh, yeah. What Steve said.

        • Elissa

          Steve’s reply actually helped me a lot with seeing your perspective. I was very confused when I realized that you all deeply disagree with Luther and Lutheranism on some issues when it seems on other issues, if Luther said it, it must be so. If I am understanding correctly now, Luther is a foundation on which your current tradition and practice has built.

          • I’m glad, Elissa, it was part serious, part tongue-in-cheek, of course.

            More seriously, the heritage to which we all want (and must!) subscribe is maybe best described as “chastened tradition.” We want to have a respectful disposition to the brethren that have gone before us, recognizing we are not the first (nor the best) to have read the Scriptures. However, we must all finally submit to what has been written (1 Cor 4:6), and refuse to exceed it – so we chasten what we receive with the Bible, and that without apology.

            I’m not sure “if Luther said it, it must be so” is absolutely true – though who can deny the appeal of such a cantankerous beer mug toting monk! Maybe more like, “if Luther got the Scriptures right – and communicated it right – then it must be so.” Therein lies the disagreement, because we would argue that Luther indeed got much in the Scriptures wrong. As I like to say about his “consubstantiation” – if you understand it, you’re not paying attention.

            It’s important to acknowledge that not every tradition outside of our own is a “paradigm of error” (borrowed that from John Frame). Which means that our paedobaptizing and supercessionizing Presbyterian friends have not got everything wrong (see Rev. Dr. Carl Trueman) – just the beginning and end of the Church. So there’s no need to start pitting ourselves against one another in a fundamental way.

            Interestingly, this is a big misunderstanding between the uniformity of Roman Catholicism and the unity of Christianity. We may all have differing uniforms, while Rome has managed to fit everyone with the same silly hat, we have a far deeper spiritual unity than any in Roman Catholicism, which is the “Hinduism of Christianity.”

            Personally, I’m a card-carrying member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals – (And that quite literally, they gave me a card and a number and everything… I wish I just knew what to do with it) – and I join a regional prayer / discussion meeting each month with other brothers (Protestants who are not ashamed to call me a “Protestant”). I believe that “Confessing Evangelical” is a happy place to be… we even let Lutherans join! Blessings.

          • Elissa

            I deeply disagree with your conclusions about Rome but I am interested in understanding these Protestant labels. Even after spending many years in Protestant churches during which I learned a lot about the Bible and Christianity, the labels have remained rather mystifying to me. Thanks for the clarification in your reply.

          • Right. The Reformers are the shoulders on which later theologians could stand to refine their understanding of Scripture.

      • Simple_Elder

        Steve – I hear you brother.

        My anonymity removes one level of discussion – the personal – and allows me to address the theology of your posts. Ignore my ecclesiological commitments. They are unimportant for the sake of this discussion. I also see you misunderstanding me – in my first post to Clint in this thread I praised you all for holding to the 5 sola’s – so I didn’t say you are “not the heirs of the same theological commitments and even historic traditions of the Protestant Reformation.” Please blame me for that misunderstanding.

        Now am I wrong, brothers, or might it be that you are searching for yourselves ecclesiologically? Could you be frustrated by trying to link up the glorious soteriological doctrines of the Reformation to the sometimes wacky ecclesiology of the same? You all know, right, that “Protestant” and “Reformed” were ecclesiological labels for centuries, and only became populist soteriological labels in the past few years?.

        And isn’t it precisely because you and Clint live and write in the stream of church history that you are obligated to properly identify your own particular ecclesiology? But claiming to be a part of the magisterial reformation by identifying with groups like Anabaptist (as you do above), – and using that link as the right to speak in the lineage of 500 years of Protestanism – is like claiming the Taliban grew out of the 101st Airborne!, and that they are still contributing to its’ development. Brothers, real Protestants – the ones who know what that word means historically – don’t want you speaking for them unless you join their churches! Church history is a stream and revisionism won’t help any of us face up to what we are and how we got here. Even the richness of Protestantism came out of the theological richness of Catholicism. We think of salvation as deliverance from the practice and judgment of sin, not theosis as in Orthodoxy. In other words, on that matter we think biblically.

        So I’m curious. Without ecclesiastical apology, where do you guys fit in – in church history? And if you didn’t identify yourselves as either YRR or protestant (which you aren’t), do you fear losing readers?

        And with that, I’ll bow out.

        • The best way to understand it is to realize that the Reformers had their hands full of trying to unscramble the Catholic theological egg. They rightly spent most of their time and energy rectifying the crucial doctrines of grace, especially the soteriology. But they necessarily neglected to complete the Reformation in the less pressing doctrines of ecclesiology and eschatology, for example. I’m of the opinion that if Calvin and Luther had lived for 500 years and continued to refine their theology in every area, they would have completed what they started and come to be baptistic, New Covenant, elder-led, and even premill in their teachings. I know them be fight’n words, but hey, that’s my opinion. And this is a blog, not a pulpit.

    • I love that opening sentence. If I understood what it meant, I’d have attempt an equally pithy retort. I appreciate your insight into the taxonomy of Protestantism. The world needs more precise blog commenters. But since this isn’t a PhD dissertation, I think my readers will excuse me lumping my theology with the non-Catholic side of the soteriological Venn diagram, without expecting me to qualify which nuances strain I subscribe to.

    • Nate_Busenitz

      The word “Protestant” is commonly defined as “a member of any of several church denominations denying the universal authority of the Pope and affirming the Reformation principles of justification by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers, and the primacy of the Bible as the only source of revealed truth; broadly: a Christian not of a Catholic or Eastern church” (Webster).

      Thus, anyone who affirms solus Christus, sola fide, and sola Scriptura (in contradistinction to Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy) is rightly regarded as Protestant.

      To claim that the term “Protestant” excludes Baptists and other contemporary evangelicals is to place unnecessary (and unwarranted) constraints on the label. The word is not merely a synonym for “Lutheranism” — unless one insists on only allowing the 1529 meaning of the term, which limited it to the German Lutheran princes who protested the Diet of Speyer.

      That being said, I prefer the term “evangelical” (which Luther also coined from the Greek word for “gospel”), since it keeps our focus on what we are for (as Bible-believing Christians), and not solely on what we are against.

      • Simple_Elder

        Hi Nate – thank you brother, for your ministry.

        I know i said I wouldn’t jump back in, but if it’s OK (situational ethics here,
        iow) I’d like to comment on your words.

        You make my point with the Webster’s definition you provided – thanks ;):

        The word “Protestant is commonly defined as “a member of any of several
        church denominations…”

        Brother, you aren’t. Nor are any of the other excellent bloggers on Cripplegate.

        The nice thing about ‘Protestant’ is it is an ecclesiological term whereas ‘evangelical’ is not. This makes ‘Protestant’ something that can be evaluated biblically as opposed to “evangelical” which sort of means whatever you want. And while people do speak of an evangelical church (or even worse, ‘The Evangelical Church’), it means something different to the lesbian pastor in an Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) than it does to you. At least with “Protestant” we can evaluate real positions by real confessions (like the lesbian pastor), even if we think both the confession and pastor are wrong. But self-identifying yourself as an evangelical empowers you with eccelestical amnesia and somewhat binds you to defining Christian identity apart from the church – a grave theological blunder, but so very evangelical. Who are you? “I’m an evangelical.” Well, that and 4 bucks gets you a grande latte at Starbucks. There’s even evangelical Catholics who will help you pay.

        Evangelicalism is a user-defined movement (not a church, and hence undefinable in Scriptural terms) that traces its origin to the ‘ecclesiola in
        ecclesia’ movement in early Protestant church history – the little church within the big church – as Lloyd-Jones aptly described it. It has always been a movement that has held itself supra-church and thus positively views itself as unencumbered with all sort of disagreeable and contentious things that slow down the truly important conversations.

        I would just love to see you brothers figure out the real glory of
        where you come from, ecclesiologically, and identify yourselves from the posture of knowing and loving the church, not a movement. Let the lesser lights identify themselves non-biblically. Your training and your backgrounds demand better.

  • Great post, Clint. This is a very helpful collection, especially since the window-dressing of Vatican II is often mistaken for substantive changes since Trent. Thanks for doing the research. Blessings.

    • My pleasure brother. Thanks for taking the discussion on the air.

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  • SuzanneT

    “…death through Eve, life through Mary
    I’m no scholar, but doesn’t scripture consistantly point to Adam as the one through whom death came to all men? (not excusing Eve) and doesn’t the name “Eve” mean mother of all living? Yikes indeed..

    • And more disturbingly, “life through Mary” instead of life through Christ.

  • DelawareMom

    I think you hit the nail on the head with your comment about the pill. The real reason many protestants aren’t Catholic and many Catholics have walked away is because of birth control and divorce and remarriage. Many people who rail against the Catholic Church do so because they are angry over rules that they perceive as man-made. The Church doesn’t make the rules. The Church upholds God’s laws. For example, “Thou shalt not kill” is extended to all life, even that in the womb. And, yes, birth control pills and IUD’s, mirenas, etc are forms of abortion. They do not, to the surprise of many, always or only prohibit conception. They may also, quite often cause the death of a conceived baby by preventing implantation. But this is just one example of truth that is upheld by the Catholic Church. So it would not have been overturned at Vatican II or that would mean it was not the truth before. Truth is not relative. Just because something becomes inconvenient, does not mean it is not true.
    There are numerous misconceptions about the Catholic Church that prevent many from seeing the truth. I invite you to attend a Catholic Mass sometime. Just show up and sit quietly and you will see the truth. And you will be amazed at how Biblical it all is!

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