Christ tells Peter:

Whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven (Matt 16:19).

The talk of “binding and loosing” is commonly connected to the Pharisees and their presumed authority as rabbis. Assuming one opts for this “future perfect passive” interpretation of the relevant Greek phrases, it seems to me that there are two possible ways of interpreting what Christ says here to Peter.

According to the prospective reading, Christ is telling Peter that his future exercise of his authority to bind and loose will be…

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There is another passage in the writings of Ignatius of Antioch that many people take to show that he had a very robust understanding of the real corporeal presence of Christ in the Eucharist. It is from his Epistle to the Smyrnaeans 6, 2:

Now note well those who hold heretical opinions about the grace of Jesus Christ that came to us; note how contrary they are to the mind of God. They have no concern for loνe, none for the widow, none for the orphan, none for the oppressed, none for the prisoner or the one released, none for…

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Many times, apologists for Roman Catholicism will cite passages from various Fathers of the Church in order to prove that the earliest Christians believed in the doctrines taught by the Roman Catholic Church. But in at least some cases, these earliest fathers are misquoted.

For example, consider the following passage from Ignatius:

Ι take no pleasure in corruptible food or the pleasures of this life. …

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On the one hand, the Roman Catholic Church teaches in Dei Verbum that the living teaching office of the Church is “not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed” (DV 10).

On the other hand, consider the following argument. If knowledge is to be infallible, there cannot be a distance…

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When we think and discourse, we are always thinking and discoursing about something or other. The truth of our thought and speech is a matter of their conformity to their objects. As Aristotle said, to speak truly is to say of what is that it is and of what is not that it is not. For this reason, we cannot simply take for granted that our preconceptions and prior judgments about things are true, but rather seek to confirm them, testing them critically against the standard of the objects themselves which we wish to know. …

One of the most important controversies of the first generation of the Church was that of the relation between Gentile converts and Judaism. Did the Gentiles who believed in Christ have to be circumcised and take up the Law of Moses, or not? The apostles and the majority of the early Church came to the conclusion that such a thing was not necessary. Among the arguments they gave for this conclusion, one stands out.

The argument goes like this. Christ is the one who gives the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33). The Gentiles received the Holy Spirit while they were still…

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One of the most important texts in the debates between Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox about the papacy is found in the Gospel according to Matthew:

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him…

I teach philosophy at the university level to undergrads, mostly freshmen. Many of my students are not well trained in thinking. How do I know this? Because they do not know how to take notes. If I am lecturing and developing a thought and do not have a sentence or two projected on the screen, they don’t write anything down. This tells me that they do not know how to follow an argument and appreciate the point being made unless it is given to them ready-made, “on a platter,” so to speak.

Many people on the internet who have an…

Michel Henry teaches that there are two domains of appearance: the world and life. The world is that “Outside” in which things show themselves as external to oneself. Life is the experiencing of oneself without distance or difference, “inside.” Life is more fundamental than the world, since the world is an appearing, and nothing can appear unless there is a life which can feel itself being appeared to.

Everything experienced in the “Outside” of the world has a body. There are the more familiar bodies of sensible things: this cat, that dog, one’s brother or sister or wife or parents…

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The evidential argument from evil

At least one way of formulating the evidential argument from evil is as follows:

(1) If God exists, then there are no gratuitous evils.
(2) Probably, there are gratuitous evils.
(3) Therefore, probably, God does not exist.

An evil can be defined as “gratuitous” if (a) nothing at all justifies it, or else (b) it is excessive for the purpose it serves.

Premise (2) can be defended as follows:

(i) Some evils persistently appear to be gratuitous.
(ii) Therefore, probably, they are gratuitous.

Skeptical theism can be understood as the attempt to undermine the inference from (i) to (ii).

Although…

Steven Nemes

I have a PhD in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.

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