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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Is the Reformation Over?

 
 
 

Is the Reformation Over?


This Sunday we had a guest "priest" speak at our church because our rector is on vacation in Sydney, Australia. I had the privilege of discussing why I prefer the 1662 Book of Common Prayer which in fact turned into a "bash the Reformation" session and a personal attack against myself as someone who is "opinionated." One has to ask, however, who is opinionated and who is not opinionated? As if saying that your opponent is opinionated somehow means that you yourself are not opinionated? I have never denied being opinionated. I have opinions on just about everything. My humble and tolerant opponents, however, imply that they are somehow not "opinionated."


But the deeper we dig the more we discover that in fact our opponent is opinionated after all. For one, our opponent thinks the Reformation is over. "Well," I politely responded, "that depends on who you ask." When my opponent said that the Reformation and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer is not entirely in line with Anglicanism I responded, "Well, if you're referring to pre-Reformation Anglicanism, then you would be correct. However, the real question is what is your historical perspective?" By this I implied that the Reformation is actually faithful to apostolic Christianity as it was recorded infallibly and inerrantly in Holy Scripture. Making church tradition equal in authority to Scripture in effect makes Scripture subservient to the church rather than the church being subservient to Scripture. When traditions of men evolve and supersede Scripture what we wind up with is extra-biblical and additional revelation which makes Scripture null and void. Also, these Anglo-Catholic and Roman Catholic traditionalists tend to allegorize Scripture to fit their preconceived traditions and additional "revelations" and accretions added over the centuries.


So the Protestant Reformation is not just a blip on the radar screen of history, punctiliar spot on a timeline forever static and to be left behind and forgotten as relic of church history and the history of dogma. No, the Protestant Reformation was in fact a restorationist movement which was inspired by the Renaissance. When the humanist scholars of the Roman Catholic Church discovered through textual criticism and other new ways of studying the past that the dogmas of the Roman church did not in fact match up with the what the Bible said in the original languages—not Latin but Koine Greek and biblical Hebrew—they sought to reform the Roman Catholic Church. Unfortunately, when a top down system of authority is challenged from below it is not amicable to change.


The problem with an anthropocentric system of revelation and authority is that it eventually winds up in corruption, which is what happened with Rome and is still happening today in the Anglican Communion. Rather than placing Scripture at the head of the three legged stool of Scripture, tradition and reason, the Anglo-Catholics and high churchmen place tradition at the top of the triangle. This should sound familiar to those of you who are familiar with Scripture. Jesus often attacked the traditions of men and the traditions of the Jewish scribes and religious leaders because the traditions were added to God's Word revealed in the inspired writings of the Law and the Prophets. These writings are what we would call the Old Testament. (See Matthew 15:1-9; Mark 7:1-13; Galatians 1:14; Colossians 2:8).


Likewise, the Protestant Reformers, being trained in scholastic theology, discovered through their humanist training received from the influence of the Renaissance that allegorizing the Bible—rather than reading it at face value and interpreting it in the light of its various literary genres and in the light of its historical and grammatical context—led to all sorts of man-made traditions which were not in fact taught in Scripture at all. [For a good discussion of these issues, I highly recommend Alistair McGrath's book, In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture, (New York: Anchor Books, 2002).]


If the Bible is merely written, collected and canonized by humans, then it is not the inspired written revelation from God to humankind. On the other hand, if the Bible is the very words of God in written form, then according to Dr. Martin Luther and the other Protestant Reformers, every man should have a right to read and interpret it for himself:


The Reformation urged all Christians to read and value the Bible, and act on what they found written within its pages. The traditional response of the opponents of the Reformation to this proposal was that the Bible—which all agreed, although, with markedly varying degrees of enthusiasm, was ultimately the foundation of Christian life and thought—was difficult to understand. People needed help to make sense of it. Not only was it written in a language few could understand, its ideas were complex, and needed explanation for the people. The Church, of course, was more than willing to provide such and explanation. Luther, however, argued that the interpretation offered by the Church merely reinforced its own position. The Bible was not, as a matter of principle, allowed to critique either the teachings or the practices of the medieval Church. For Luther, it was axiomatic that every Christian had the right to read and interpret the bible for herself. (Alistair McGrath, In the Beginning, 113-114).


While Protestants do not accept that the church is the final authority, they do accept the church as a secondary authority. Scripture alone is infallible and inerrant and in all matters of controversy we are to stand upon Scripture as the final word in all matters of dogma, theology, and doctrine. This does not mean that every individual has the right to invent his own religion or start a new cult. It does, mean, however, that the church does not have the right to teach or force belief in matters not spoken of directly in Holy Scripture. The church is only authorized to teach and preach what Scripture specifically teaches and is not to go beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6-7). While the Protestant believer opposes tradition as equal to Scripture, he is not opposed to reading the church fathers and other sources to more completely understand what the church has said regarding the Scriptures. But we are not to blindly follow church leaders without testing what they say by the Holy Scriptures (Isaiah 8:20, 34:16; Luke 16:29; John 5:39-40; Acts 17:11 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 Timothy 2:9, 3:15; 1 John 4:1).


Furthermore, in answer to my opponent I have to ask, "If the Reformation is over, why are we not all Roman Catholics?" Obviously, if there are no more reasons to remain divided, then the breach has already been healed and there is no need for debate, discussion, or dialogue but instead let us be about the business of reunification and reconciliation here on the earth. If the Reformation is over, why are conservative Anglo-Catholics not taking up the pope on his offer to become Roman Catholic? (See Pope Brings Anglicans Into the Fold). It should be obvious to anyone with any discernment at all that the Protestant Reformation is not over.


In fact, the deeper we go into the details the more confirmed we become in our convictions that the Reformation is not over. The anathemas against the Gospel and against the doctrines of Scripture by the Roman Catholic Church in the canons of the Council of Trent have never been reversed—not even by the Second Vatican Council. The Manhattan Declaration is just the latest attempt to deny the obvious: Rome and Geneva have absolutely nothing in common. Likewise, Rome and Wittenberg have nothing in common. In fact, despite the liberal Anglo-Catholicism of Canterbury, Rome and Canterbury have nothing in common either! Basically, Evangelicals who think the Reformation is over have been duped by crypto-papists who desire to institute the pope as the vicar of Christ on earth and usher in the kingdom of God as a militant form of christendom emphasizing the here and now and the use of coercion and political authority as a means of proselytizing the world for Roman Catholicism. Whatever happened to the Reformation idea that the pope is an antichrist and the Roman Catholic Church is a synagogue of satan?


There will always be a tension between separation and union. But we can never trust the movement toward the amalgamation of denominations since the purpose is not true union but a false union based on secular authority on earth rather than the spiritual authority of true believers who read the Bible for their dogmatic doctrine and are members of the church of Christ gathered in heaven by and through the Holy Spirit. We are not lone rangers out on our own but where two or three are gathered together in Jesus' name there we find the true church gathered in the Spirit (Matthew 18:20; Acts 4:30-31; 1 Corinthians 5:4). The ecumenical movement leads to compromise, the watering down of the law and Gospel. The misplaced emphasis on minimalism inevitably winds up pointing toward an anthropocentric theology which in turn leads to a denial of Scriptural dogma and eventually to atheism and liberalism like that which we see running rampant and wreaking havoc in the Episcopal Church and the wider Anglican Communion.


Rather than being concerned about being "company" men or "belonging" to a denomination, we ought to be concerned about being faithful to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to the Holy Scriptures which reveal the only binding doctrine we are obligated to believe (See Article 6). While denominations are not in and of themselves evil, they have a tendency to emphasize union, amalgamation, and communion over against the purity of doctrine and the right preaching of the law and the Gospel. It should rather be our concern to preach and teach what God has ultimately revealed to us as His final word on all matters of faith, doctrine, and communion—Holy Scripture.


Sincerely in Christ,


Charlie



52 comments:

John said...

One wonders how one puts something at the head of a three legged stool. Generally making one leg either shorter or longer is a problem in that scenario.

The reformers were "trained in scholastic theology", and thereby through "humanist training" and from the "influence of the Renaissance" came to the conclusion that *others* were influenced by man made traditions.

One wonders why one needs training in scholasticism, humanist training and influence of a secular movement so that one can be free of human traditions! That's a very surprising claim.

If the 1 Corinthians 4:6-7 is a proof text for being "only authorized to teach and preach what Scripture specifically teaches", one wonders how the church taught the story of Jesus, and his teachings prior to it being written in the gospels. Apparently the Church spent its formative years acting outside its authorisation.

Charlie J. Ray said...

John, you're obviously confusing the apostolic authority of Paul in his day with so-called "apostolic" authority today. There are no apostles today. What we do have is God's written Word. And it is astonishing that even an apostle in the apostolic age would uphold Scripture as the measure for doctrinal purity and not "tradition."

If reason and tradition are equal to Scripture in your view, then take out the saw and saw off those two legs. Scripture is the final authority.

Charliee

John said...

" you're obviously confusing the apostolic authority of Paul in his day with so-called "apostolic" authority today".

Well, Paul said to hold to the traditions delivered orally, even when he wasn't present to confirm, or re-iterate to new converts what those traditions are. So if the oral traditions function as a rule of faith over and above available scripture (which wasn't yet available to confirm all these teachings) when no apostle is present, I'm not sure what I'm confusing. I don't see anything in the bible about "in this day", with a view to something different happening in a different day.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Paul was obviously referring to the traditions passed on by Christ and through the eyewitnesses. Apostles necessarily need to be eyewitnesses of Christ's teaching, life and ministry. No one meets that criteria today.

What you're really arguing for is for tradition to trump Scripture. When Scripture is no longer the foundation for apostolic doctrine then every wind of doctrine begins to blow. Isn't that why the Orthodox church and the Roman church have added traditions that do not exist until centuries after the time of Christ? Where does the Bible tell us to pray to the saints or to Mary? Where does the Bible teach purgatory? And where does the Bible teach that the bread and wine contain the real body and blood of Christ? No, these doctrines were never taught by Christ or by His apostles. They are vain imaginations of men invented human tradition mistakenly attributed as "revelation" from God.

And how do we tell "inspired" tradition from "human" tradition? Popular vote by your favorite "bishop"?

No, thanks. I will stay with Scripture because it is God's Word. Everything else is fallible and prone to error.

Charlie

John said...

Now you've changed metaphors from 3 legged stools to houses and foundations. But who is to say what the right paradigm is?

I think you missed the point about apostles. Whatever the criteria for apostles might be, Paul said to hold to the oral traditions WHEN HE WASN'T PRESENT. That implies he trusted their memories to be a rule of faith, and that new converts joining the church would have to trust the memories of existing members too as their rule of faith. Since 2 Thessalonians was one of the first NT scriptures written, Paul had instituted oral tradition as a rule of faith, there not being any other scriptures available that teach uniquely Christian doctrine. The Church never gave up that position, judging by the comments of the Church fathers about 2 Th 2:15, and why would they? What verse ended that situation?

Where does the bible teach that the bread and wine is the real body and blood? It's funny, I'm talking to a Lutheran about sola scriptura, and he is emphatic that the real body and blood is in the bread and wine, and he'll quote the bible and Reformed Lutheran statements of faith to defend that as well.

How do you tell inspired traditions from other traditions? You have the same question. How do tell inspired written traditions (aka scriptures), from non-inspired writings?

Charlie J. Ray said...

John, you're baiting and switching. The real truth is that you do not believe Scripture. The Bible clearly gives qualifications for apostles in Acts 1:3, 16-17, 21-23. No one today mets those criteria. As for Paul, you're neglecting the fact that Paul wrote Scripture, circulated epistles, and that his writings were accepted as Scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16; 1 Corinthans 3:16, 6:4). So the "oral traditions" are a reflection of apostolic teaching, not the Eastern Orthodox idea of ongoing revelation. Apostolic teaching/doctrine was set in the first century and does not evolve and change over time. There is only one faith (Ephesians 1:5) once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).

You try to switch the topic from "tradition" to the canonization of Holy Scripture. However, I will flatly say that canonization, like your "tradition" is fallible and could be in error. However, since the Protestant canon of 66 books is accepted by all without any qualification, there is no need to accept a second canon of less authoritative books. The 66 books were never in dispute and are not in dispute today. However, both Athanasius and Jerome said that the apocrypha are not to be a source of dogma or doctrine but only read for information and edification. The apocrypha are obviously not inspired nor are they on the same level of authority as Holy Scripture.

Secondly, inspired Scripture is self-authenticating and the proof is that God providentially assured that all would recognize their quality as divinely inspired so that all churches recognize this.

No, given a choice between doctrines of sinful men like your priests and doctrines inspired of God and recorded infallibly and without error in the Holy Scriptures I will choose Scripture each and every single time.

Sincerely,

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

By the way, John, I am not a Lutheran. I am an Evangelical Anglican and a Calvinist. However, I do hold Luther's teaching on Scripture, the law and the Gospel in high regard.

The doctrine by which a true church stands or falls is justification by faith alone. A church is a local congregation and not a denomination or a fellowship of churches.

Sincerely,

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Lutherans and Reformed/Calvinists have some differences on the sacraments but those pale in comparison with the differences with Rome and the Eastern churches. Both Rome and the Eastern churches teach that man must earn/merit his salvation by his own efforts to cooperate with God. However, the Reformed view is that salvation is ALL of God. There is no such thing as cooperation. God does it ALL. He makes us (the elect) willing to accept Him in the first place. (Psalm 110:3).

No, the Eastern churches and the Roman churches are teaching a false gospel of works. We teach that salvation is all of God and all a gift of grace, not of works. (Ephesians 2:8-9).

John said...

"No one today mets those criteria."

And your point is what? This random factoid has nothing to do with anything I said.

"As for Paul, you're neglecting the fact that Paul wrote Scripture, circulated epistles, and that his writings were accepted as Scripture".

Not at the time 2 Thessalonians was written, since the Thessalonian epistles were probably his first, and we know that not all Christian doctrine is contained in them. In any case, whenever Paul wrote, he was not yet aware of everything that would end up being written so could hardly be making claims that all Christian doctrine is written. Obviously, this is why Paul told them to hold to oral teachings, since not everything was written at that point. You may think it was all written later, but that is something you would have to establish.

"not the Eastern Orthodox idea of ongoing revelation"

What EO idea of ongoing revelation? I don't think you know much about EO.

"However, since the Protestant canon of 66 books is accepted by all without any qualification, there is no need to accept a second canon of less authoritative books."

Not true. James, 1,2Peter, Revelation, 1,2,3John, Jude etc were not accepted by the non-Chalcedonian churches which is why the Peshitta never contained these books. This was a long standing tradition of those Christians living in the Syrian area, which is why Chrysostom also never quotes these books since he came from there. The Protestant canon is not the lowest common denominator. We could even discuss the Marcionites who rejected Matthew, Mark and John.

So do you now take scissors to your bible?

"Secondly, inspired Scripture is self-authenticating and the proof is that God providentially assured that all would recognize their quality as divinely inspired so that all churches recognize this."

If they are self-authenticating, why were there differences in the canon?

"given a choice between doctrines of sinful men like your priests"

Our priests are more sinful than people in Protestant land? And you believe this why?

John said...

"By the way, John, I am not a Lutheran."

I know that.

"Lutherans and Reformed/Calvinists have some differences on the sacraments"

So when we differ from you it is the "vain imaginings of man", but when Lutherans disagree the exact same way it is mere slight differences? Hmmm....

"Both Rome and the Eastern churches teach that man must earn/merit his salvation by his own efforts to cooperate with God."

I would challenge you to find a quote from anybody Eastern Orthodox saying that we must merit or earn salvation. In fact, I would eat my hat if you found such a quote.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I do not need to quote chapter and verse for what is general knowledge. You're not going to tell me that the Eastern Orthodox view of justification is the same as that of the Protestant Reformers? Gimmee a break:)

Your view is semi-pelagian.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

"Our priests are more sinful than people in Protestant land? And you believe this why?"

Ah, you're already showing that you are completely ignorant of what Scripture says. Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10 for starters. Then try Romans 10:1-5.

See? This is why you're not really a born-again Christian. You think you're not a sinner.

Secondly, Christ did not die on the cross to make you a god or to make you live forever. He died on the cross because you were born a low down dirty sinner. Unless you admit this you will bust hell wide open.

Luke 13:1-5

Charlie

John said...

" You're not going to tell me that the Eastern Orthodox view of justification is the same as that of the Protestant Reformers? "

Whoa, this is an entirely different claim. It's good to be careful what you claim, and then you can stick by it. Obviously you can't stick by your original claim.

"Ah, you're already showing that you are completely ignorant of what Scripture says"

Then why single out our priests as sinful, if it weren't that YOU don't understand scripture that all are sinful? Looks like you got busted making a silly statement, and now you're trying to claw out of it.

"Secondly, Christ did not die on the cross to make you live forever."

1Th. 5:10 who died for us, so that we will live together with Him.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Regarding Scripture, all three major branches of the Christian religion accept all 66 books. Citing exceptions does nothing but make you look like you're begging the question.

Rome and Constantinople can't even agree on which apocryphal books are in the "deuterocanon".

No, you and Rome have much more in common than anything in the Reformed/Lutheran/Protestant world. Protestants are restorationists. We seek to understand what Jesus and the apostles actually taught, not what fake bishops said centuries later because they were delusional. The Holy Spirit has spoken completely and finally in the Bible. We need no further "revelation" from oral traditions the contents of which no one can be sure.

I prefer what God objectively reveals in written form. Paul cites the Old Testament as able to lead us to faith! And so does Jesus. (1 Timothy 3:15-17; Luke 16:31).

It seems to me that you're the one doubting if the Bible is God's Word. I can read it and see that it is inspired. It testifies to itself and all Christians since the time of Jesus have accepted the 39 books of the OT. And the writings of Paul were accepted in the time of Peter! The idea that the writings of the apostles were in doubt is no longer even an argument. That might have been true in the 3rd or 4th century but even then by the time of Athanasius and Jerome the questions were settled and the canon was fixed and settled. It's only a problem for you because you're a doubter and you need to shape and twist Scripture to fit your traditions. This is why you have such a low view of Scripture. You don't really believe it is God's final word. What you really believe is the uninspired words of men added centuries after the time of Jesus and the Apostles. "Traditions of men!" (Matthew 15:1-7; Mark 7:1-13).

Please prove to me from Scripture where I am to pray to saints? Where does the Bible say I should worship/venerate icons or Mary???

My Bible says we are to worship only God and anything else is idolatry! (Matthew 4:10; Exodus 20:3-6).

I call no man father nor do I venerate bishops or patriarchs. I accept God's word as the only binding authority in matters of doctrine, not some man-made church with leaders who have grandiose delusions of grandeur and fake authority.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

There are no differences in the canon today. ALL 66 books are accepted by ALL Christians EVERYWHERE. This proves they are God's inspired Word. Your referring back to a time of disputations only proves you are begging the question. The Bible stands as God's Word. You're the one who does not believe it, not me:)

2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Timothy 2:15

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

1 Thessalonians 5:10 and other references to the resurrection are fine. But the problem is you do not see that Christ died on the cross for our sins. (1 Peter 2:24). This is evidence enough that you're a pelagian at worst and a semi-pelagian at best.

The reason you die a mortal death is that you're a sinner! And the wages of sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23). Eternal punishment is the result: Revelation 20:10, 15

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

I'm not singling out anyone. ALL are sinful and all have sinned. Thus, your bishops and priests deserve hell.

"I" deserve hell no matter how holy I live. This is what you don't get. You think you deserve heaven because you have been "deified." I have news for you:

Psalm 82:6-8


If you're looking for a fight, you found the right place. I am more than willing to shoot your balloon full of holes.

Romans 3:5-7

John said...

"all three major branches of the Christian religion accept all 66 books."

Oh, so we're a major branch of Christianity now are we? A minute ago we weren't even Christian at all.

Now who told you to limit it to three biggest branches, and not four biggest or five biggest? You realise that prior to Luther, the non-Chalcedonians WERE one of the "three major branches" right?

"Rome and Constantinople can't even agree on which apocryphal books are in the "deuterocanon"."

I would argue deuterocanon is a misnomer.

But you fail to notice that everybody in the early church you would hope to quote to support your protocanon can't even agree on what the protocanon is. Athanasius' canon doesn't agree with you. In fact, none of the early church agree with you save for Jerome. So what does blathering about Rome and Constantinople prove?

"Protestants are restorationists."

You're not a typical Anglican then.

"We seek to understand what Jesus and the apostles actually taught, not what fake bishops said centuries later because they were delusional. "

One minute these bishops are the leadership of one of the "three major branches", accurately transmitting to us lists of Apostolic books. The next minute they are fake and delusional making up anything and everything as they go along.

Ahh, the pungent odour of inconsistency.

"The Holy Spirit has spoken completely and finally in the Bible. "

Which the bible never says, even though you claim sola scriptura. The odour gets stronger.

"Paul cites the Old Testament as able to lead us to faith! And so does Jesus. "

He also cites preaching as leading us to faith (Ro 10:14). So what exactly have you proved?

"It seems to me that you're the one doubting if the Bible is God's Word."

Making silly and unfounded accusations doesn't help your case.

" It testifies to itself and all Christians since the time of Jesus have accepted the 39 books of the OT."

You don't know much about the history of the canon do you?

John said...

"That might have been true in the 3rd or 4th century but even then by the time of Athanasius and Jerome the questions were settled and the canon was fixed and settled."

How were they "fixed and settled" if the bishop of Constantinople in the year 400 refused to quote from James, Peter, 1,2,3 John, Revelation and Jude?

And why even breath the name Athanasius or Jerome, since all these bishops were fake and delusional anyway?

"This is why you have such a low view of Scripture. You don't really believe it is God's final word."

If that accusation had teeth, you could direct it at the apostles, since they taught a bunch of Christian doctrine that was not contained in the OT, for many decades prior to mentioning it in any writings. And so did all the Christians alive at that time.

"What you really believe is the uninspired words of men added centuries after the time of Jesus and the Apostles."

Nonsense. Passing on a tradition does not mean it was added centuries later.

"Where does the Bible say I should worship/venerate icons"

If you read your bible carefully, the Jews bowed down to the Ark of God which was covered in pictures of the Cherubim.

"I call no man father"

Really. That's a shame for your dad. Do you also call no man teacher?

"nor do I venerate bishops or patriarchs"

That's a pity, since the Jews venerated their kings and bowed down to them. Still, if you want to elevate your own culture and tradition to being God's word, go ahead.

"you do not see that Christ died on the cross for our sins. (1 Peter 2:24)"

If you can find anyone Eastern Orthodox denying that, I'll eat my hat. (Now watch the frantic back-pedalling start again.)

"The reason you die a mortal death is that you're a sinner!"

No kidding. Do you think we're new to this whole Christianity business?

Charlie J. Ray said...

Wow, you have me convinced, John. You can twist Scripture to make it say it's ok to commit idolatry. I'm impressed.

And you have convinced me that you don't know for sure if the Bible is God's Word. Maybe you doubt God's inspired Word but I have no doubts:) You doubt today and I believe today. The canon has been settled for so long that it's not even a question anymore--unless you happen to want to believe human traditions rather than God Himself:)

I'm here for you if you want to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, John. First thing you need to do is accept God's Word:) John 3:16-21

Charlie J. Ray said...

The apostate churches of the east and west accept the universal doctrines but not the soteriology of Scripture. In that sense they are "christian" but not Christian.

:)

But being a nominal christian does not make you a regenerate, born-again Christian. The two are not the same.


Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Anglicanism degenerated into Anglo-Catholicism in the 19th century. REAL Anglicans are Evangelical and Reformed and Protestant.

I reject Anglo-Catholicism as I do Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. All three are apostate.

Any more questions? Yes, I'm PROTESTANT in all caps.


Calvinist. Read the purpose statement and the confessional links.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Sola Scriptura, Solus Christus, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Soli Gloria Deo!

John said...

"You can twist Scripture to make it say it's ok to commit idolatry. I'm impressed."

Not my fault if your interpretation of scripture makes God's commands into idolatory. I guess you were surprised to find that God commands the Israelites to have images in their temple in the very same book that condemns graven images.

"And you have convinced me that you don't know for sure if the Bible is God's Word."

Ever think of responding with something that bears some resemblance to what I said?

"The canon has been settled for so long that it's not even a question anymore--unless you happen to want to believe human traditions rather than God Himself"

Settled for whom? I guess its settled for you since you are your own ultimate authority, but out among the Churches it is to this day is not a settled list.

But I guess assuming that which you wish to prove is your strong suit, and I'll admit you are great at it.

"The apostate churches of the east and west accept the universal doctrines but not the soteriology of Scripture."

Wow, big words there, but do know what you are talking about?

"REAL Anglicans are Evangelical and Reformed and Protestant."

You don't know the difference between reformed and restorationist then.

Charlie J. Ray said...

John, I've read the Bible from cover to cover more times than you can imagine. I'm aware of the ark of the covenant and the brass serpent. However, it is a huge leap to say this gives you license to worship idols.

John said...

We don't worship idols. In fact we have icons of people destroying idols.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Well, if you doubt God's written Word, WHY IN THE WORLD would you expect ME to believe in a church? Churches, as you yourself pointed out, are many and varied. The Bible is there for ALL to read.

And if you say that the Bible cannot be understood without an infallible interpretation, how can I understand the infallible interpretation of the Bible without and infallible interpretation of the infallible interpretation of the Bible? And so on ad infinitum ad nauseum?

No, what you're offering is just liberalism, pelagianism, and man centered doctrine in the disguise of "tradition." You have made yourself into a god and an idol but you will die like a mere man.

Psalm 82:6-7

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

I know all about the canonization process, which was fallible. I know about the church councils where heresies were approved at one point and rejected at later councils. This only proves that the church does err!

So what's your point? You are only proving that the church is fallible and prone to error, which I have been saying all along:)


Now simply because the church can and does err does not prove that Scripture is unreliable or that the canon is wrong. The canon is closed but if you can prove that a book should not be there I'm sure the churches would be willing to convene a general conference.

Let's see what you got?

Charlie J. Ray said...

The Reformation is about restoring the churches to apostolic doctrine as it is recorded in Holy Scripture. This does not mean we throw out the church fathers but that we test the fathers by Scripture and not the other way around!

John said...

"Well, if you doubt God's written Word..."

I don't doubt God's word. It doesn't seem as if you are responding to me but rather someone else.

"if you say that the Bible cannot be understood without an infallible interpretation..."

I didn't say that. Were I to say something similar to that, I would observe that the Ethiopian in Acts 8:31 didn't seem to have any problem with recursive interpretation problems. Sometimes you can understand the bible, and other times it helps to have some expert advice.

"No, what you're offering is just liberalism, pelagianism, and man centered doctrine in the disguise of "tradition."

Do you understand those big words? We are not Pelagian. That term has a specific meaning. Liberalism? That terms means freedom, usually related to individuals doing what they want. Obviously, Protestants better fit that moniker.

"I know all about the canonization process, which was fallible."

If you did you wouldn't say all Christians accepted the 39 books.

"This only proves that the church does err!"

It proves that councils err. But your generalisation is about as rational as saying the canon of scripture is in error because different Christians approved different books.

"The canon is closed but if you can prove that a book should not be there I'm sure the churches would be willing to convene a general conference."

LOL. You told me you believe the canon because three major branches of Christianity accept it! That criteria has become functionally infallible in your world view. So even in your world view, the Church is infallible in particular circumstances.

"This does not mean we throw out the church fathers but that we test the fathers by Scripture and not the other way around!"

No doubt the Fathers tested each other by scripture, and found each other to be thoroughly orthodox, which is why they stayed in communion.

No, you don't test the Fathers by scripture, rather you test the Fathers against your own traditions. You make no attempt to understand the world view of the Fathers, you just filter them through your own cultural traditions.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Icons are idols! Even pictures of Jesus are idolatrous! Was Jesus Greek? Roman? Chinese? African? Maybe he looks like a wrestler with long hair?

Hah.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Well, there we have it. You trust your own traditions.

BTW, you're the one doubting the canon, not me.

And now you're saying the 39 books which even Protestants accept are in doubt?

What DO you believe???

Heh.


You're only digging yourself a deeper hole, John.

How are things in Canberra?

Charlie J. Ray said...

"LOL. You told me you believe the canon because three major branches of Christianity accept it! That criteria has become functionally infallible in your world view. So even in your world view, the Church is infallible in particular circumstances."

John, you seem to be unable to distinguish between an infallible book and a fallible canon. The books of the Bible are individually inspired by God. They are also collectively cohesive in their message. But it does not follow that the canonization process was or is infallible. The canon could be in error. The onus is on your to prove that it is since the canon has been closed since the 4th century.

Go figure:)

John said...

"Well, there we have it. You trust your own traditions."

We both do. Only I admit to it and have the theological basis for it, whether you just do it and then pretend you don't.

"BTW, you're the one doubting the canon, not me."

Nope. I just pointed out that your belief in your canon is hypocritical, inconsistent, and based on factually incorrect claims. I believe the same canon for consistent and historically true reasons.

"Icons are idols!"

Subtlety doesn't seem to be your strong point. So now God commanded the Israelites to be idolaters by putting images in their temple.

"Even pictures of Jesus are idolatrous!"

Really. So if cameras had been invented back then, taking a picture of Jesus would be idolatry? I guess if Peter visualised Jesus he would be an idolator too? Actually, since Hebrews says that Jesus is the icon of the invisible God, Jesus himself must be an idol!

This gets funnier and funnier.

Charlie J. Ray said...

The only "tradition" I accept is the tradition infallibly and inerrantly recorded in Holy Scripture. All other tradition is fallible and is in no way a "revelation" on equal par with Scripture.

The church is subject to Scripture and not the other way around.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

"4.Nowhere in any of these 66 books are we told that these 66 books specifically are the entirety of "inspired Scriptures."

Arguments from silence are weak, John. Nowhere in Scripture are we told that "oral tradition" is ongoing or that the church is an infallible authority "over" Scripture. But we continually see Jesus and the Apostles quoting and teaching the Scriptures. There are only brief references to "tradition" in any positive sense. In fact, Jesus rejects the "traditions of men" as vain inventions of sinful and religious hypocrites.


You're losing the war, John.

Charlie J. Ray said...

"I don't doubt God's word. It doesn't seem as if you are responding to me but rather someone else."

Well, you're the one questioning the canon and Scripture, not me. I accept the fallible canon unless and until you can prove it is wrong:)

I read that silly attack on Sola Scriptura at your blog. Most of it applies to your own position as well. Secondly, the mischaracterization of Sola Scriptura is a fallacy known as straw man. It might convince someone unfamiliar with what the doctrine actually teaches but not someone who is well instructed and informed.

Point 4 and following in your critique are totally off the mark:)

Why? Because we do not say that the listing of the books or the table of contents is infallible. Simple. But you did a brilliant job of tearing down your own sand castle.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

"If you think the canon is closed, and has been since the 4th century, the onus is on you to prove it."

Both Athanasius and Jerome had the same listing of books in the 4th century. Both the west and the east agreed on this canon and in fact the 66 books were not in dispute. And both Athanasius and Jerome said the apocrypha were to be read for edification only, though neither were completely consistent with this principle.

"Of course, the claim is bunk, and you won't be able to, but the sight of you back-pedalling will be again entertaining."

Well, you might make a good Mormon. Go for it:) Revelation IS ongoing for you.

"For bonus points, prove it from scripture alone, since that is your supposed rule of faith."

Well, since that is not what sola Scriptura asserts, I think you're the one who needs to prove that sola Scriptura teaches that we cannot have secondary authorities like church tradition, etc. Scripture alone is the final authority in matters of doctrine and salvation but it does not follow that we must prove all things from Scripture. The "alone" refers to authority. It does not mean that we cannot use reason, tradition, or experience. It just means that those things are all fallible and must be tested by Scripture.

The church is subject to Scripture. So if we read the Bible and find that the church is in violation of Scripture, then we call for the church to repent and reform. This is what sola Scriptura teaches. So if you pray to the saints then I can call for you to repent since Scripture says that we are to worship only God. Praying to anyone other than God is idolatry and blasphemy.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Subtlety and deceit are strong points of the devil, John. Either you pray to God alone or you don't.

There really is no gray area here. Matthew 4:10.

What is funny is your attacks against things I don't believe:) I don't reject tradition. I reject tradition as "revelation". Tradition is fallible. Scripture is not.

The canon is fallible. Scripture is not. The individual books of the Bible are each individually inspired of God and by God. They are self-authenticating. The church fallibly recognizes this. But the universal acceptance of the books proves they are self-authenticating as God's divine word.

Furthermore, the sovereignty of God providentially insures that everything God decrees actually comes into being. That would include the Bible.

But then, you believe man is sovereign. Who would expect you to believe that God can actually bring about a canon through His providence?

Furthermore, your attacks against the canon apply equally to your own view of the church. If the canon is in doubt, how much more is your church in doubt? Really, you should become an atheist since in your view cultural relativism is about all you have.

Charlie

John said...

"I read that silly attack on Sola Scriptura at your blog"

It's not my blog, its a blog I share with some others who are listed there. If you have anything to say, it would be best in response to something I actually said, or at the very least quote what are referring to, because I have no idea.

"we do not say that the listing of the books or the table of contents is infallible. Simple. "

Simple... and ridiculous. You know that the bible in your hands contains information that might possibly be infallible, but you are not sure because you don't know what is supposed to be in the book.

"Both Athanasius and Jerome had the same listing of books in the 4th century."

No they didn't. You've got a whole bunch of work to do because Athanasius' canon is not your canon.

Futhermore, I can produce several quotes from Jerome referring to the deuteros as scripture, and will do so if want to dispute what you ought to already know.

"since that is not what sola Scriptura asserts"

You told me you don't believe any tradition that is not in scripture. Well the canon is a tradition not in scripture.

" I think you're the one who needs to prove that sola Scriptura teaches that we cannot have secondary authorities like church tradition"

Hey, I'm just responding to what you tell me. If you are now changing your tune, so be it.

"It just means that those things are all fallible and must be tested by Scripture."

Everything the Church historically taught was tested by scripture. They just came to different conclusions to you which is why your whole notion of secondary authorities is a lot of nonsense.

"So if you pray to the saints then I can call for you to repent since Scripture says that we are to worship only God. Praying to anyone other than God is idolatry and blasphemy."

Errr, what verse says that? What verse says talking to other people is "prayer", and what verse says prayer is "worship".

"I reject tradition as "revelation"

Funny, because Paul refers to his epistles as "tradition" in 2Th 2:15.

"The individual books of the Bible are each individually inspired of God and by God."

Or they might be, since you hold to a fallible canon don't forget.

"They are self-authenticating."

But only to some people apparently, and you don't know if you are one of them.

"But the universal acceptance of the books proves they are self-authenticating as God's divine word. "

And is the converse true? Is non-universal acceptance proof they are not God's divine word?

"Furthermore, the sovereignty of God providentially insures that everything God decrees actually comes into being. That would include the Bible."

Presumably the providence of God insured that the Book of Mormon came into being, no?

" Who would expect you to believe that God can actually bring about a canon through His providence?"

The issue has never been whether God has brought a canon into being by providence, the issue is how you can know it, and how you can know your list is that canon.

"If the canon is in doubt, how much more is your church in doubt?"

Historically, your argument is nonsense. The Church recognised its boundaries hundreds of years before they even began to be more settled about the boundaries of the canon. And need I mention again the Church existed prior to any NT canon?

"Really, you should become an atheist since in your view cultural relativism is about all you have."

You're talking nonsense again. Protestants are all about cultural relativism.

Charlie J. Ray said...

John, if you have to twist what I say to make your silly bait and switch fallacies look legitimate you're getting really desperate.

First off, the point is ALL of the 66 books were listed by Athanasius and Jerome in the 4th century. AND both Athanasius and Jerome were INCONSISTENT on the other books. Sometimes they say the deuterocanonicals are not allowed for a source of doctrine and at other times they do use them to argue a point of doctrine. Simply because they referred to the apocryphal books as "scripture", i.e., "writings" does not prove anything since even the church fathers "wrote." The word is a generic term unless you can prove otherwise from the context.

Furthermore, I, like you accept church authority in the matter of canonization. The difference is that "I" am more honest than you. I admit that the church is prone to error and is fallible while you live in a delusional world where you think claiming a false authority makes your argument more believable. But you ignored the point I made. IF the Bible is INSUFFICIENT and you need an infallible interpretation of the Bible THEN it logically follows that the infallible interpretation you offer LIKEWISE needs an infallible interpretation. This is obvious since the churches, east and west, often argued for centuries over fine points of theology. Which church council is correct since the councils contradict each other????

No, only Scripture is infallible. Everything else is prone to error. And your point about 2 Thessalonians 2:15 makes my point for me. Paul WROTE letters to make sure the "traditions" are accurately transmitted. "Oral traditions" are prone to inaccuracy and corruption. And even in that generation the oral traditions were meant only for the immediate situation, not for subsequent millenia.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Part 2

The oral traditions which God intended for us to believe and receive are not some ambiguous something floating around in whispers of oral tradition in secret places in the church halls. No, the oral traditions are now "written" for us so that we may know what they are and believe them!

(1 Corinthians 15:1-11)

I notice that you conveniently forgot to address my point that you can twist and distort Scripture to your own destruction (2 Peter 3:15-16) and that Scripture has to be handled correctly and accurately ( 2 Timother 2:15). Simply because Judas hanged himself does not give you license to endorse suicide. Likewise, simply because there are a couple of brief examples of the use of material objects like the Ark and the brass serpent does not give you license to invent traditions which go beyond the written word (1 Corinthians 6:4).

Also, it seems to me that Jesus and Paul DID preach the Scriptures and referred often to Moses and the Law and the Prophets. The Bible of the NT church in the first century was the OT! (2 Timothy 3:15) Those Scriptures, according to Paul are SUFFICIENT in matters of faith to lead to salvation.

I might point out that faith precedes both the church, the priesthood and the law in the OT. God called Abram out of Ur and made him the father of many nations, Abraham. (Genesis 17).

As for your point about cultural relativism? Well, I would agree that theological liberalism is a problem in mainline Protestant churches. But it's also a problem in the Anglican Communion, despite its blatant Anglo-Catholicism. Anglo-Catholics have virtually the same view of the church as you and Rome do. So pray tell WHY didn't that view of an infallible church protect Anglo-Catholicism from liberalism????

I might ask why there are theologically liberal Roman Catholics if an infallible church is the answer to liberalism??? Hans Kung? John Dominic Crossan?

Oh, and if you're going to now tell me the Eastern Orthodox Church does not have a problem with liberalism you'll have to tell my why the Eastern Orthodox has accepted theological liberals into its membership? People like Jaroslav Pelikan???

No, your synergistic semi-pelagian religion is not apostolic nor is it biblical. Rather it is actually just man-made traditions added on centuries later based on legends that grew with time. The legend that Rome canonized, the assumption of Mary, is just another example of how gnosticism and apocryphal works suddenly become "revelation" and "holy tradition" simply because some archbishop wants to score some political points to win worldly power in the secular realm and the ecclesiastical realm.

You never answered my other question. How are things in Canberra?

BTW, our rector is visiting in Sydney at the moment. Maybe the two of you should meet up?

Sincerely,

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Article VI
Of the sufficiency of the Holy Scripture for Salvation
Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.
In the name of Holy Scripture, we do understand those Canonical books of the Old and New testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.

Of the names and number of the Canonical Books.

****

All the books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them canonical.


And the other books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine. Such are these following:

****

Provenance
Composed in 1952/3. The original article contained the clause, "Although it be sometime received of the faithful, as godly and profitable for an order and comeliness." which was deleted in 1563.

Article VI, 39 Articles of Religion

Charlie J. Ray said...

As for your remark about God's decrees, yes, God decrees that the Mormons would exist. How could God NOT be in charge of even evil?

Isaiah 45:7.

Even the fall of Adam is by God's decree.

God even hardens Pharoah's heart, according to Scripture (Romans 9:15-18).

Again, you have only demonstrated that you believe God is at your disposal and is your servant. But the Bible clearly shows that God is absolute, sovereign, and king over all creation and over every creature. This is what you don't get. Proverbs 21:1; Daniel 4:34-35

The sovereignty of God, however, does not remove our responsibility for our own sins and actions:

Ezekiel 18:27; Joel 2:13; Matthew 3:2

Luke 15:18-19

John said...

"(1 Corinthians 15:1-11)"

How does verses that talk about believing what was preached supposed to say everything is written?!?

"simply because there are a couple of brief examples of the use of material objects like the Ark and the brass serpent does not give you license to invent traditions which go beyond the written word"

?!?? God instituted icons. It says so in the bible. Ancient Jewish synagogues that have been dug up have extensive icons. Now you want to say you know better? Give me a break. Who made you pope?

"The Bible of the NT church in the first century was the OT! (2 Timothy 3:15) Those Scriptures, according to Paul are SUFFICIENT in matters of faith to lead to salvation."

Be that as it may, the OT scriptures did not contain all doctrine, and especially not all Christian doctrine, as you well must be aware. And that's the only point that matters here.

"So pray tell WHY didn't that view of an infallible church protect Anglo-Catholicism from liberalism"

1) Those so-called Anglo-Catholics who promote liberal ideas can hardly be regarded as believing in an infallible church since they reject the traditions of that church in favor of new ideas.

2) Conservative Anglo-Catholics are the main group opposing women's ordination in England.

3) Believing in the infallible church is no substitute for being IN the infallible church, and they are not.

4) Why didn't sola scriptura save Anglicanism from Anglo-Catholicism? If you say because they left sola scriptura, then I say some Anglo-Catholics left tradition.

"tell my why the Eastern Orthodox has accepted theological liberals into its membership? People like Jaroslav Pelikan?"

Pelikan is a liberal?

"At this moment, here and now, it is not only proper but necessary for Christians, in their discipleship, to develop patterns of personal morality"

"Ideas and practices cherished for many centuries are being challenged or discarded, but more far-reaching and more paralyzing than any such individual chal- lenge is the numbing sense that the very continuance of the Christian faith may itself be in jeopardy."

"the life of the church is not her institutions but her dying and risen Lord. In him is her life—and ours. In him is the continuity of discipleship, of doctrine, and of structure."

Doesn't sound very liberal to me.

"How are things in Canberra?"

Great.

"BTW, our rector is visiting in Sydney at the moment. Maybe the two of you should meet up?"

Well, it is quite a way to Canberra you know. It's not just around the corner.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Well, John, since it seems to me that you are unable to interact with what the Protestant Reformers actually believed instead of continually misrepresenting their theology, there seems to be little reason to continue this silly tit for tat.


However, the facts are you claim to be infallible but we would still need an infallible interpretation of the infallible interpretation and so on.

And I'm honest. I admit the church councils erred. You seem content with denying the obvious and glossing it over.

And I have no problem reading the church fathers and neither did the English Reformers. In fact the Reformation was about reading the church fathers correctly and not reading tradition back into the fathers that was never there.

Thomas Cranmer did an excellent job of proving that the Lord's Supper was never believed to be the literal or even spiritual body and blood of Christ and he did so arguing from both the church fathers and Scripture.

I would never buy into any synergistic view since it is obvious to anyone reading the Bible that God is King, not man. His decrees stand.

He is in control of even kings (Proverbs 21:1).

I'm sorry that you have been deceived by a false church. The Jews never would have allowed the worship of icons. It is strictly forbidden in the decalogue to make graven images.

May God grant you the grace to believe the true Gospel (Galatians 1:6-8).

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

BTW, Anglo-Catholicism started out on YOUR side of the Reformation divide, John. It's not a product of the Reformation but rather it is a counter-reformation movement.

It is Anglo-Catholicism which is responsible for liberalism in the Anglican Communion, not the Protestant and Reformed tradtion. Furthermore, you ignored the fact that Rome has theological liberalism and so does Eastern Orthodoxy, so what's your point?

I don't follow parachurch organizations and denominations and communions. The true church is expressed in a local congregation where the Word of God/Gospel is rightly divided and preached and where the sacraments are rightly administered.

Confessional Anglicans are Calvinists and Reformed.

Article XIX
Of the Church

The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure word of God is preached and the sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same. As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch have erred: so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith.

Article XX

Of the Authority of the Church
The Church hath power to decree rites or ceremonies and authority in controversies of faith; and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything contrary to God's word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ: yet, as it ought not to decree anything against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce anything to be believed for necessity of salvation.

Article XXI
Of the authority of General Councils
General Councils may not be gathered together without the commandment and will of princes. And when they be gathered together, forasmuch as they be an assembly of men, whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and word of God, they may err and sometime have erred, even in things pertaining to God. Wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to salvation have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that they be taken out of Holy Scripture.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Johnny, I'm not interested in what one liberal scholar, J.N.D. Kelly has to say, nor do I care what Luther said on the sacraments. The 39 Articles of Religion are the standard and the confession of the Reformed Church of England. Read that if you wish to know what the Anglican Church teaches on the sacraments. Cranmer and Parker are the chief architects of the Articles as they stand.


Nice try but no cigar.

If you wish to argue in circles, I suggest you do it else where on your own blog:) I own this property.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

"BTW, it is duly noted that you spend a lot more time quoting Articles of Anglicanism rather than scripture."

You catch on fast, Johnny:) Does the term "confessional" mean anything to you? Have you never heard of the Reformed Confessions? They summarize what we as a church believe the Scriptures teach.


1 Timothy 3:15

You have no clue:)

The church is a secondary authority. We are not solo scriptura but sola scriptura.

John said...

"Have you never heard of the Reformed Confessions? They summarize what we as a church believe the Scriptures teach."

But why quote them TO ME? If I was Anglican it might make sense. But since you are an apologist for Anglicanism, you give me no reason to bother reading, let alone caring what the Articles of your confession say. That indicates to me they have risen in your esteem as an actual primary authority.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Your ignorance of confessional and Reformed theology is not my problem, John.

Again, sola Scriptura does not and never did negate church authority. The "magisterial" reformers are NOT Anabaptists. You need to study our actual theology before you shoot from the hip.

I can guarantee I know more about your basic theology than you know about Calvinism, Lutheranism, or Anglicanism.

Charlie J. Ray said...

John, really. You're grabbing for straws. The 10 Articles were written prior to the 42 Articles and the 39 Articles because Henry the VIII was still king. Of course Cranmer would not risk his neck so early on. He was smart enough to take what reform he could get as time went on. Henry would have had him beheaded if he did too much too soon.

But Cranmer knew how to work within the system and was able in the end to bring about significant progress in the Evangelical and Protestant direction. The 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the 39 Articles are testimony enough of that.

But then you, being a pelagian, could care less about the Gospel of grace.

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