AR-talk Digest: 7 Jun 2004, Issue 1257

> Catholic Origins
> The Nature of Saving Faith
>"Christian" Wicca

Date: Sat, 05 Jun 2004 22:54:33 -0700
Subject: Catholic origins

What are some good books that document the beginnings of the Catholic Church versus the original Body of Christ?. Books that review the historical view of the beginnings of the church that veered from the apostolic church of Christ. Perhaps anything that may speak to the ongoing Body of Christ that came to be seen as heritical by the Catholic church..

Please send to my personal address if you can:



Date: Sat, 05 Jun 2004 17:13:22 -1000
From: TK <>
Subject: Re: [AR-talk] Catholic origins

6/5/04 7:54

> What are some good books that document the beginnings of the
> Catholic Church versus the original Body of Christ?. Books that review the

I'd be interested in the same info. Been discussing it with some latter Day Saints that have been visiting me.

"With the wrong set of assumptions, logic will still lead you over the cliff."


From: "Steve Hogel" <>
Date: Sat, 5 Jun 2004 22:29:06 -0500
Subject: RE: [AR-talk] Catholic origins

Requests, such as the one below, do not need to have replies sent privately. Responses to these requests will benefit the list, are within the charter and I would encourage answers to be shared on Talk. Thanks

Steve Hogel

> 6/5/04 7:54
> > What are some good books that document the beginnings of the...


From: "Philip Johnson" <>
Date: Sun, 6 Jun 2004 14:22:11 +1000
Subject: Re: Catholic Origins

You might need to be somewhat more precise in your request for information. What precisely do you have in mind when referring to the Catholic Church --- what historical epoch of the Church of Rome do you have in mind, since the Church of Rome itself has had organic growth in its theology and doctrines over the centuries (e.g. are you supposing that today's expression of the Catholic Church is liturgically, ecclesiastically and doctrinally similar to the early centuries of the Church?): -

* Is it the doctrinal position of the Church of Rome from the period of the Council of Trent to Vatican II?

* Is it the pre-Tridentine Church of Rome of the Middle Ages and Renaissance?

* Is it the early development of Bishoprics and the Conciliar Church of the first seven centuries?

* Are you taking into consideration the differences that existed between the expression of Christianity centred in Rome and Carthage (Cyprian, Tertullian, Augustine) over against those of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem (the Orthodox Eastern churches that appeal to , Basil, Cyril, Gregory Palamas, the Cappadocian fathers, etc)?

On the history of the early church you would do well to start with some general treatments such as:-
Henry Chadwick, The Early Church (Pelican 1967; Penguin, 1990), which goes from the first century AD to the Edict of Theodosius.

W. H. C. Frend, The Rise of Christianity (Fortress Press, 1984), which is a comprehensive study from the time prior to Christ up to Pope Gregory I.

Walter Oetting, The Church of the Catacombs: The early church from the apostles to AD 250 (Concordia Publishing House, 1964).

On the development of doctrine into the early Catholic tradition start with:
Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Volume 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600) (University of Chicago Press, 1971).

Bengt Hagglund, History of Theology (Concordia Publishing House, 1968).

J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines (Revised edition. Harper & Row, 1978).

Thomas O'Loughlin, Celtic Theology: Humanity, World and God in Early Irish Writings (Continuum, 2000).

On early heresies start with:
Harold O. J. Brown, Heresies: The Image of Christ in the Mirror of Heresy and Orthodoxy from the Apostles to the Present (Doubleday, 1984).

On the Orthodox Eastern tradition start with:
Timothy Ware, The Orthodox Church (Penguin 1984).

Robert Brenton Betts, Christians in the Arab East (SPCK 1979).

J. M. Hussey, The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire (Clarendon Press 1986).

A Roman Catholic primer for Protestants is:
Bob Moran, A Closer Look at Catholicism: A Guide for Protestants (Word Books 1986).

A liberal Lutheran study of the Church of Rome is:
Jaroslav Pelikan, The Riddle of Roman Catholicism (Abingdon Press 1959/Hodder 1960).

A recent evangelical interpretation is:
Norman Geisler & Ralph E. MacKenzie, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences (Baker 1995).

On early church leaders:
Oscar Cullmann, Peter: Disciple-Apostle-Martyr (Westminster Press, 1953).

Felix V. A. Boyse, "Cyprian, Lawyer and Bishop: A Study in Christian Leadership" Simon Greenleaf Law Review, Vol. 6 (1986-87) pp. 7-30.


From: "Bill" <>
Date: Sun, 6 Jun 2004 02:17:57 -0400
Subject: Nature of Saving Faith

Does anyone know the origin and first author of the elements of saving faith (notitia, assensus, and fiducia)? My own research has been unable to find anyone who's ever found (or claimed) where our current descriptions and understanding of saving faith first started and developed. Some of the challenges I've run into when attempting to define faith include:

1. Faith as nonconceptual (faith is a "feeling")

2. Faith as implicit (it doesn't matter what you believe)

3. Faith as sincerity (faith points you in the right direction, but
gets fuzzy on the details)

-- Thanks --



From: "Robert Bowman" <>
Date: Sun, 6 Jun 2004 00:20:03 -0700
Subject: RE: Nature of Saving Faith


According to _The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge_, Melanchthon is the source of the threefold analysis of faith as _notitia_, _assensus_, and _fiducia_:

It's a place to start.

In Christ's service,
Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
Center for Biblical Apologetics


From: "Philip Johnson" <>
Date: Sun, 6 Jun 2004 19:07:55 +1000
Subject: Re: Nature of Saving Faith

To piggy-back on Rob Bowman's note about Melanchthon:-

The use of these terms occurs in Melanchthon's work known as Loci Communes. The Loci Communes first appeared in 1521 and reflected the polemical engagement between apologists for the Church of Rome versus Luther. Melanchthon veered backwards and forwards on various theological topics and his work went through several different printed editions in his lifetime. English versions vary according to which edition-text has been selected for translation.

One who studied under Melanchthon and knew his work intimately was Martin Chemnitz. Chemnitz was a prodigious writer with his massive work Examination of the Council of Trent (4 volumes in English translation), his sturdy The Two Natures of Christ, and several other works. There is an oft mentioned maxim that "If Martin [Chemnitz] had not come along, Martin [Luther] would hardly have survived."

Chemnitz delivered lectures based on Melanchthon's work, which were published after Chemnitz's death by his sons and another colleague. The collection of lectures includes a meticulous exposition of the definition and nuances of faith, based around Melanchthon's own work. Chemnitz's book, which is available in translation is Loci Theologici (2 Vols. translated by J. A. O. Preus; St. Louis, Missouri: Concordia Publishing House, 1989). Volume 2 of the work contains Chemnitz's lectures on defining faith.

Some discussion on the nuances of the words in the light of what the early Lutheran thinkers had to say can be found in the work of Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics (Vol. 2. Concordia Publishing House 1951) pp. 428ff.


Date: Sun, 6 Jun 2004 01:28:24 -0500 (CDT)
From: Michael Hamblin <>
Subject: RES: "Christian" Wicca

An increasing number of Neopagans and Wiccans see their new religious traditions as completely compatible with their Christian upbringing.

The Cauldron and The Cross: Honoring The Old Religion with The New

This is a resource page for those who blend "something Christian" with something from The Old Religion in their spiritual practice. Many people believe that Yeshua/Jesus studied with the Essene fathers in the desert learning mysticism and natural magick: the magickal properties of plants and stones, the arts of divination and meditation. Many believe that "The Way" that Yeshua taught his disciples (both male and female) likely contained these mystical elements.

Others believe that Yeshua was married to Mary of Bethany, the Magdalene, and honor this Bride of Christ as The Goddess of Christianity. (Some look to Mother Mary, Sophia, or Asherah as Christian Goddesses as well.) Still others believe that The Christ Presence is transcendent of all religions, as are Mother Mary, the Saints, and Angels.

Whether you are a Christo-Pagan, a Christian Witch, a Goddess-Seeking Christian, or a Mage who calls upon Saints, Angels, and/or Christian Deities in your mystical and magickal workings, we welcome you.

A number of links are given for:
- Discussion Lists
- Esoteric Seminaries and Ordination

The Cauldron and The Cross Award For Excellence - links a number of "Christian" Wicca sites:
This award honors excellent sites which feature "something Christian" blended with something magickal, mystical, or pagan. Winning sites must feature original content of some kind, and must reflect tolerance of all spiritual paths.

About twenty websites are listed.

The Cauldron and The Cross: Recommended Reading

A quite detailed Bibliography of sources detailing all the areas that a "Christian" Wiccan might need information for:

- Christ ~ Jesus ~ Yeshua
- Mary Magdalene
- Women in Christianity
- The Bible ~ Religious Texts
- The Holy Grail
- Angels
- Christian Magick
- Christian Influenced Tarot Decks

This includes quite a noxious mixture of Jesus Seminar, Gnostic scholarship, Neo-Gnostic spirituality, popular angelology, the Essene Jesus theory, feminist thealogies, liberal views on the canon, and alleged magic traditions within early Christianity.

If anyone has any resources on any of these problems already prepared, please let me know as I would appreciate it! :) Web pages specifically and short articles are of interest. Philip - I'm still assimilating some of your earlier posts on these subjects ;)

The only real response I've found to "Christian" Wicca by an Evangelical ministry is this very short page:

"Christian Wicca"? The Ultimate Oxymoron!

Anyone have any other responses?

Given the postmodern times we're in, this development isn't really that surprising. I'm collecting resources relevant to this on two pages, though I'm in the process of updating both:

Evangelical Resources on Mysticism and its Dangers

Evangelical Resources on Wicca and Neopaganism

In particular, Roman Catholicism is seen as very compatible with Wiccan belief. Venerating Mary Mother of God on Sunday and worshipping the Goddess during the week is seen as a contiguous activity. I'm also in the process of updating my page of resources on Roman Catholicism before the next "Fullness of Truth" conference:

Evangelical Resources on Roman Catholicism

On Mary, I'd recommend these two books:

* Eric Svendsen, Who is My Mother?
Calvary Press, 2002. ISBN 1-879737-45-0

* James White, Mary - Another Redeemer?
Bethany House Publishers, 1998. ISBN 0-7642-2102-7

I doubt I'll have time soon, given my attention with the LC of late, but I'm hoping to start piecing something together on this once I'm further along with my study of esoteric spirituality; otherwise I'd just be wasting my time ;)

Michael Hamblin
7815 McCallum Blvd Apt 17201
Dallas, TX 75252-6801 Home Phone: 972-733-3357


From: "Philip Johnson" <>
Date: Sun, 6 Jun 2004 17:04:20 +1000
Subject: Re: RES: "Christian" Wicca


The demographics for many of those who have turned toward neo-pagan and Wiccan spiritualities often includes people who have had a background in the Catholic Church, and to a lesser extent Protestant churches; and there is small cluster of those who have a Jewish background (hence the expression Jewitches sometimes crops up).

Charlotte Allen wryly remarked on this: "Practicing Wicca is a way to have Christianity without, well, the burdens of Christianity" ("The Scholars and the Goddess" Atlantic Monthly, January 2001, p 22).

Apart from the personal frameworks and experiences of those who have become disenchanted with their participation in the Catholic liturgy, the other key factor concerns the derivation of some Wiccan-Pagan rituals from Catholic liturgy.

The coalescence of various elements that end up in Wiccan rituals includes:

1. Catholic liturgy (bread and wine on the Wiccan altar).
2. Masonic customs (e.g. the 4 compass points of the lodge transfers into the ritual greeting of the spirits of the 4 elements earth, air, fire, water).
3. Romantic poets views of Pan and Diana in the 18th and 19th centuries.
4. The magical rituals of Blavatsky's inner lodges in the Theosophical Society.
5. The magical rituals of the Order of the Golden Dawn.
6. Ideas of a matriarchy and mother goddess cult in antiquity from Margaret Murray, Sir Athur Evans etc.
7. Ideas from Dion Fortune and Aleister Crowley.

These and others are traced in Ronald Hutton's masterly book The Triumph of the Moon (Oxford Uni Press, 1999).

Of more recent flavouring is the emergence of a new model for esoteric thought. The template leans toward concepts of hidden rituals and teachings passed down the centuries by magu-like characters/groups who "knew the score" with reference to Jesus. That is, Jesus taught gnosis rather than faith, and his inner retinue included Magdalene. This is then allied to ideas derived from James Frazer's Golden Bough that Christianity drew on the mystery religions for its rituals and many beliefs (like death and resurrection).

The other ingredient is that the "holy grail" is not the chalice of the Last Supper but a symbol for the gnosis Jesus taught secretly and which concerns his relationship with Magdalene. Their children become a powerful bloodline that ends up in France with the Merovingians, and possibly the Royal House of the Stuarts in England. The Essenes are thrown in for good measure (but utterly divorced from the context of Qumran as a separatist sect) carrying forward Buddhist ideas or magical ideas depending on which pop book is relied on.

The books that are scooped up to form this heady mixture include:

Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood, and the Holy Grail (Jonathan Cape, 1982);

Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Messianic Legacy (Jonathan Cape, 1986);

Baigent & Leigh, The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception (Jonathan Cape, 1991).

Baigent & Leigh, The Elixir and The Stone: The Traditions of Magic and Alchemy (Viking 1997).

Laurence Gardner, Bloodline of the Holy Grail: The Hidden Lineage of Jesus Revealed (Penguin, 2001).

Morton Smith, The Secret Gospel (Harper 1973).
Morton Smith, Jesus the Magician (Harper 1978).

To this one can add Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code as a pop colaescence of holy grail ideas and suppressed gnosticism; or Freke & Gandy's The Jesus Mysteries where the gnostics were side by side the orthodox until Nicaea when the gnostics lost out.

A question that could be reflected on as prompted by this phenomena concerns the emergence of folk religion in Christian civilisation. In short folk religion empowers lay people who otherwise feel disenfranchised by a hierarchical church that makes a clear divide between professional priest/clergy and the laity. The disempowered will look for ways of finding direct access to God without the interdiction of a perceived professional insider's club of ministers. Folk religion often grows up then when people feel marginalised.

The growth of Wicca undoubtedly can be explained on many levels. One of them may very well be a response of women and men who want to connect with God in the creation (something we do find in Scripture with reference to God's Spirit being omnipresent), but the Church seems to have gone quiet on that topic, or tightens its grip on institutional power at the expense of encouraging giftedness in laity to serve.


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