Thoughts of a Living Christian

Musings of an amateur theologian and hopeful writer

Archive for the month “June, 2012”

Calvin on Scripture, Humanity and Sin

Calvin’s Doctrine of Scripture

A common theme to these two articles on Calvin[1] is the reference to the inward persuasion of the Spirit of the authority of Scripture. This conclusion is undeniable, considering Calvin’s argument that “our conviction of the truth of Scripture must be derived from a higher source than human conjectures, judgments, or reasons; namely, the secret testimony of the Spirit,”[2] and, further, “Scripture, carrying its own evidence along with it, deigns not to submit to proofs and arguments, but owes the full conviction with which we ought to receive it to the testimony of the Spirit.”[3] However, Dowey seems to place more emphasis than McGowan on Calvin having a slant toward inerrancy. He argues Calvin’s “doctrine of the testimony of the Spirit points to a miraculous, supernaturally induced, suprarational conviction that is essentially inaccessible to criticism,”[4] and we are convinced of this, not by any proof or reason, but purely by the Spirit. These proofs are helpful but only in a secondary position, once the Spirit has convinced the reader of Scripture’s authority.[5] The Spirit’s testimony is the only possible illumination.

McGowan’s discussion over Calvin’s approach to inerrancy[6] concluded that his approach didn’t fit either position.[7] Instead his doctrine viewed Scripture as deriving its authority solely from the Spirit. No church governance, reason or proof can prove its authority, for it can only be authoritative after an internal persuasion of the Spirit. He argues that once the inward persuasion of the Spirit happens, “the believer no longer doubts the truth of Scripture but accepts it,” and “having been inwardly persuaded of the authority of Scripture by this testimony of the Spirit, the believer can have absolute certainty of both the origin and truth of Scripture.”[8] Scripture is a vehicle through which the Spirit speaks, who inspires and carries it along. McGowan argues that Calvin saw Scripture as authoritative not because of the text itself, but because of the Spirit; “Calvin does not base his high view of the authority of Scripture on the edifice of a perfect autographic text but on the work of the Holy Spirit in the creation, recognition and understanding of the Scriptures.”[9]

Both articles seem to place an overemphasis on the discussion regarding inerrancy.[10] Calvin was less concerned with tedious discussion over minor errors and far more concerned with the Spirit’s ongoing activity. Scripture, in itself, doesn’t – nor was it ever intended to – hold authority, rather this authority comes from the Spirit. Calvin seems to presuppose Scripture’s inerrancy and his argument is primarily that Scripture still has divine authority, over and against the Church. His doctrine was more concerned with the application of the Bible, particularly concerning ecclesiology, than in arguing for inerrancy. Greater discussion should have been given to Calvin’s view of Scripture deriving its authority not from humanity, but from the Spirit, which seems to be the greater emphasis in his argument. Whilst inerrancy seems an alarmingly short-sighted view of Scripture, Calvin effectively reminds the Church of the universality of the Spirit and the truths He can reveal.

Calvin’s Doctrine of Humanity

Calvin’s doctrine on humanity is invariably one of his hardest to understand but from the outset it is vital to understand, as Miles eloquently notes, “Calvin had one central interest which strongly organized his theological work: demonstrating, maintaining, and heightening the “glory of God,” the pervasiveness and finality of God’s ubiquitous will and work in the universe and in human affairs.”[11] In all he does, God’s glory is demonstrable. As we recognize God’s glory we then recognize our sin,

It is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he have previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself. For (such is our innate pride) we always seem to ourselves just, and upright, and wise, and holy, until we are convinced, by clear evidence of our injustice, vileness, folly, and impurity.[12]

It is clear, then, that Calvin’s approach to anthropology begins in an understanding of our place before God, deprave beings, and “none but He…dwell [in] the true light of wisdom, solid virtue, exuberant goodness.”[13] This is somewhat contrary to Engel’s understanding, who argues for a “perspectival anthropology,” in that there is no one primary perspective to understanding Calvin’s anthropology, but several, depending on the context of the discussion, i.e. in relation to creation, or to sin, or a combination of both.[14] While parts of her discussion are convincing, Engel’s argument that there is no over-arching theme is not. From the very beginning, Calvin surely recognizes humanity primarily in relation to our position before God.[15]

Our sin has soiled the imago Dei, but has not removed it completely. Calvin states that “the image of God extends to everything in which the nature of man surpasses that of all other species of animals,”[16] and that our mind and our soul, having the ability to contemplate God, reflect his image, while our fleshly body can never be present in the Lord.[17] Neuser notes that “for Calvin, the imago Dei is only fully realized in heaven,”[18] and focussing on the Pauline understanding of the ‘renovated man,’ Calvin concludes that the basis of the imago Dei “is to be discovered in some elevation of the created nature, in some gift bestowed gratuitously on created nature.[19] Calvin’s doctrine of humanity is not found primarily in our being created as imago Dei but that the Spirit transforms us into the imago Dei. Our blessed position as image of God was lost in the fall, destroyed by sin, but some aspect remains, yet not enough to fulfill the definition of imago Dei.[20] Calvin argues,

When treating of the removal of the image…the inference is obvious, that man was conformable to God, but not by an influx of substance, but by the grace and virtue of the Spirit. He says, that by beholding the glory of Christ, we are transformed into the same image as by the Spirit of the Lord.[21]

Calvin’s Doctrine of Sin

It is difficult to ascertain a great distinction between sin and humanity in Calvin’s Institutes. As noted in the above discussion on Calvin’s doctrine on humanity, his starting point for discussing humanity is in recognition of sin; likewise, his starting point is similar regarding sin, in that as we gaze upon God, we inevitably recognize our depravity and our sin.[22] Calvin goes on to say that recognizing our own sin in light of God’s glory brings us to humility[23] and that the tree was a test to see if Adam might prove his submission to God.[24] Adam “possessed freedom of will, by which, if he chose, he was able to obtain eternal life…it was only by his own will that he fell.”[25] On this, Niesel notes that “what man is becomes clear only when he is confronted by the truth itself,”[26] and later argues that we choose our own sin and Christ saves us, not from some “external compulsion,” but by transforming our heart, re-orientating us toward righteousness.[27] According to Calvin, Adam was not given the ability to persevere in that upright state, but does not explain why.[28] He states,

The only explanation which can be given of the expression, “in Adam all died,” is, that he by sinning not only brought disaster and ruin upon himself, but also plunged our nature into like destruction; and that not only in one fault, in a matter not pertaining to us, but by the corruption into which he himself fell, he infected his whole seed.[29]

It is clear to see he is responding against Pelagians of his day, who argued for pious self-salvation.[30] He elsewhere argues that Pelagius, seeking to deny original sin, caused an “error so gross,”[31] and responded by arguing, “We are despoiled of the excellent gifts of the Holy Spirit, of the light of reason, of justice, and of rectitude, and are prone to every evil; that we are also lost and condemned, and subjected to death, is both our hereditary condition, and, at the same time, a just punishment.”[32] By this Calvin can say that even infants are sinful by virtue of their being human.[33]

Therefore, God is not to be blamed.[34] According to Calvin, sin is a parasite; it cannot create, only destroy. Yet, cannot destroy completely, for while there is no good in us that allows us to rise up to God, we can still reflect God’s glory; “For Calvin, then, depravity was total in its extensiveness, not in its intensiveness.”[35] Horton further states,

Fallen human beings are not irreligious, but idolatrous. The image must be suppressed because it is still there. Like a mirror that reveals a reflection that we do not want to see, it must be distorted, covered over, smeared with mud. Because it reflects the God whose existence stands over against us in judgment, the image of God is no longer redolent of high office, but is a burden to be cast off. Precisely because it cannot be eradicated, it is disfigured beyond recognition.[36]

Bibliography

Calvin, John. Calvin’s Commentaries: Genesis. Translated by John King. Vol. 1. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1984.

Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion. Translated by Henry Beveridge. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989.

Dowey, Edward A. The Knowledge of God in Calvin’s Theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1952.

Engel, Mary Potter. John Calvin’s Perspectival Anthropology. Atlanta, Georgia: Scholars Press, 1988.

Horton, Michael S. “A Shattered Vase: The Tragedy of Sin in Calvin’s Thought.” In Theological Guide to Calvin’s Institutes, edited by Peter A. Lillback David W. Hall. Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing Company, 2008.

McGowan, A. T. B. “John Calvin’s Doctrine of Scripture.” In Tributes to John Calvin: A Celebration of His Quincentenary, edited by David W. Hall. Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P & R Publishing Company, 2010.

Miles, Margaret R. “Theology, Anthropology, and the Human Body in Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.” Harvard Theological Review 74, no. 3 (1981): 303-323.

Neuser, Wilhelm H. Calvinus Sacrae Scripturae Professor: Calvin as Confessor of Holy Scripture. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1994.

Niesel, Wilhelm. The Theology of Calvin. Translated by Harold Knight. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1956.

Reymond, Robert L. “Calvin’s Doctrine of Holy Scripture.” In Theological Guide to Calvin’s Institutes, edited by Peter A. Lillback David W. Hall. Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P & R Publishing Company, 2008.


[1] Edward A. Dowey, The Knowledge of God in Calvin’s Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1952). Pp. 106-125. and A. T. B. McGowan, “John Calvin’s Doctrine of Scripture,” in Tributes to John Calvin: A Celebration of His Quincentenary, ed. David W. Hall(Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P & R Publishing Company, 2010). Pp. 356-380.

[2] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans., Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989). 1.vii.4.

[3] Ibid. 1.vii.5.

[4] Dowey. 123. The point of interest in this quote is his assertion that, according to Calvin, Scripture is essentially beyond criticism. In other words – and he discusses in further detail in his article – that while parts are historically dubious (p.123), the whole is entirely authentic, historical and rational (pp.123-24).

[5] However, Dowey disagrees with these proofs due to contemporary historical criticism contradicting much of what Calvin said, (p.113).

[6] McGowan. Rogers and McKim and Briggs argued against Calvin being an inerrantist; Murray, Woodbridge and Reymond advocated this position (pp.356-57, 360-64).

[7] McGowan argues “that attempting to force Calvin into accepting one or the other of these two positions…has led to a distortion and misinterpretation of Calvin’s own thinking,” (p.357). It does seem, however, that his argument was biased toward a rejection of inerrancy in Calvin’s doctrine.

[8] McGowan. 371.

[9] Ibid. 379.

[10] It seems more likely that Calvin was, in fact, and inerrantist, disagreeing with McGowan, especially considering his view that Scripture was given to correct human error, hence Scripture itself must not have error (Calvin, 1.vi.1-3). Calvin states, “Scripture exhibits clear evidence of its being spoken by God, and, consequently, of its containing his heavenly doctrine,” (1.vii.4) and Reymond, having detailed parameters in which Calvin’s mention of minor historical discrepancies do not imply error, argues that “Calvin’s concern was to show that the biblical writers did not commit error…we must in fairness to Calvin declare that he stood with the church of all ages and did in fact believe that the Bible’s original autographs were inerrant,” (Robert L. Reymond, “Calvin’s Doctrine of Holy Scripture,” in Theological Guide to Calvin’s Institutes, ed. Peter A. Lillback David W. Hall(Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P & R Publishing Company, 2008). 63-64. Reymond’s approach seems preferable.

[11] Margaret R. Miles, “Theology, Anthropology, and the Human Body in Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion,” Harvard Theological Review 74, no. 3 (1981). 303. She further argued that according to Calvin, humans are simply foils demonstrating God’s glory; our depravity elevates God’s grandeur, (p. 304).

[12] Calvin. 1.i.2. Engel’s argument is valid, when she argues that “Calvin never intended theology and anthropology to be mutually exclusive,” instead they “belong together,” (Mary Potter Engel, John Calvin’s Perspectival Anthropology (Atlanta, Georgia: Scholars Press, 1988). 189).

[13] Calvin. 1.i.1.

[14] Engel. 189-193. Engel’s argument is essentially that rather than looking at Calvin’s anthropology primarily pessimistically through an understanding of the relationship between humanity and sin; or optimistically through an understanding of the relationship between humanity and creation; or contradictorily through an understanding of the relationship between humanity and a combination of both; we can view Calvin’s anthropology from different perspectives depending on the discussion’s relation to either creation or redemption. In other words, rather than formulating an over-arching doctrine, we can see different perspectives and implications. Rather than a rigid analysis, his doctrine is flexible. In discussing humanity, there is no black and white, and Calvin does not try to make it so. Humanity is mysterious and “must be described from conflicting viewpoints,” (pp. 191-193).

[15] Horton argues that “for Calvin human dignity rather than depravity must be the starting point for anthropology,” (Michael S. Horton, “A Shattered Vase: The Tragedy of Sin in Calvin’s Thought,” in Theological Guide to Calvin’s Institutes, ed. Peter A. Lillback David W. Hall(Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing Company, 2008). 165). However, this conclusion seems to be misleading when one considers that Calvin’s very first chapter has to do with our sinful state before God’s glory. Human dignity is important and prominent in Calvin’s Institutes, but it seems more likely that his starting point was, in fact, human depravity.

[16] Calvin. 1.xv.3.

[17] Ibid. 1.xv.2-3.

[18] Wilhelm H. Neuser, Calvinus Sacrae Scripturae Professor: Calvin as Confessor of Holy Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1994). 179.

[19] Ibid. 181. Emphasis mine.

[20] Ibid. 188.

[21] Calvin. 1.xv.5.

[22] Cf. Ibid. 1.i.1.

[23] Ibid. 2.i.1-2.

[24] Ibid. 2.i.4.

[25] Ibid. 1.xv.8.

[26] Wilhelm Niesel, The Theology of Calvin, trans., Harold Knight (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1956). 80.

[27] Ibid. 85-87.

[28] Calvin. 1.xv.8.

[29] Ibid. 2.i.6. He further argues, “Original sin…may be defined a hereditary corruption and depravity of our nature, extending to all the parts of the soul, which first makes us obnoxious to the wrath of God, and then produces in us works which in Scripture are termed works of the flesh,” (Institutes. 2.i.8).

[30] Horton. 160.

[31] John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries: Genesis, trans., John King, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1984). 154.

[32] Ibid. 155.

[33] Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion. 2.i.8.

[34] Horton notes, “Not nature as fashioned by the hand of God, but the wilful decision of the covenant partner to violate the commission entrusted to him, was the locus of misery in the world,” (Horton. 154-155).

[35] Ibid. 160.

[36] Ibid. 158.

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The Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15

Introduction

Paul’s discussion on the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 reveals an eschatological aspect to Paul’s Gospel, in which the resurrection is a fundamental aspect to the soteriological efforts of God. His argument is long and a logical progression is evident, evidencing his Pharisaic upbringing and rejection of many Hellenistic themes, particularly the immortal soul. His argument for a bodily, physical resurrection of the dead is not simply an exhaustive and impractical theology of the future, but impinges on ethical living; because we will resurrect bodily, we mustn’t be oblivious to the consequences of our actions before we die, as some Corinthians were. This essay analyses the resurrection in the Jewish tradition, to understand Paul’s approach and background; the resurrection in the Hellenic tradition, to understand what the major view of the Corinthians was; and unpacks the text in light of these analyses, attempting to accurately portray Paul’s understanding of the resurrection.

Part A: Jewish and Hellenistic Backgrounds

Resurrection in Jewish Tradition

The idea of a resurrection of the dead was a late theological development in Judaism.[1] Originally, there was no concept of heaven or hell; souls would simply sink into Sheol. Over time the concept of reward and punishment after death ebbed into Judaism, eventually forming the idea of resurrection, the event in which the righteous would be raised from the dead to live with God.[2] However, the oldest mention of the resurrection is unclear. Some suggest Isaiah 26:19, and others suggest Ezekiel 37. However, these two passages aren’t talking about a Messianic eschatology, and so Daniel 12:1-3 is recognized by the majority of scholars to be the first reference of the resurrection.[3] Second Temple Judaism generally recognized the resurrection as referring to the age to come, the idea of the soul referring to the body’s capacity of action.[4]

Apocryphal, pseudepigraphical and Qumran texts mention the resurrection also. 2 Macabees 7 mentions a man who professes that God will replace his body when he loses it; 1 Enoch 51 says “Sheol will return all the deposits which she had received and hell will give back all which it owes. And he shall choose the righteous and the holy ones from among the risen dead…and the faces of all the angels in heaven shall glow with joy, because on the day the Elect One has arisen.”[5] 2 Baruch 30:1 says “all who sleep in hope of him will rise,”[6] and the Dead Sea Scroll text 4Q521 says “He will heal the badly wounded and will make the dead live.”[7]

It is clear then, that by the first century, the concept of the resurrection was prevalent in Jewish thought, especially within the Pharisaic party, who believed that the righteous survive death.[8] And it was from this group of Jews that Paul inherited his understanding of the resurrection, and the Christian expectation of the future resurrection stems from this tradition.[9]

Resurrection in Greek and Roman Tradition

Where Judaism moved toward an understanding of the eschatological resurrection as a bodily resurrection, Greek tradition moved toward the concept of the immortal soul, after approximately 500BC.[10] However, it must be understood that there were many, often contradictory, views on the afterlife.[11] Homer believed that all, both good and evil, live eternally in Hades, though some divinely favored heroes would be granted access to the “Isles of the Beloved.” The immortal soul developed later, with the Orphism movement, and was championed by Plato. Plato provided a philosophical foundation,[12] arguing that the body is a prison for the soul.[13] His dualism emphasized a distinction between the body and the soul,[14] and idea was later taken up by Socrates, who said that death is a release.[15]

However, Epicureanism and Stoicism were both widespread. Epicureanism denied the afterlife, arguing that the body and soul are so intertwined that when the body dies, the soul inevitably dies also; the soul was entirely corporeal. Stoicism was something of a mediatory position between Epicureanism and Platonism, in that while it denied the incorporeality of the soul, it also denied its immortality. Stoicism likened the soul to a “warm breath” which would eventually return, after a temporary afterlife, to the soul of the world.[16]

The group Paul was addressing likely believed the idea of an immortal physical body to be absurd. The Greek understanding of a resurrection recognized the resurrected body as being the exact same substance and body as it was prior to death. [17] Hence, the concept that God will one day resurrect all believers, including those whose bodies have disintegrated would have conjured up images of reanimated corrupted corpses. This group also placed little stress on the afterlife, focusing on present blessings, seeing that only death was coming. They didn’t care about the future, only about the present.[18]

Part B: Paul’s Discussion on the Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15

Paul’s understanding of the resurrection was absolutely vital for the Corinthians’ salvation.[19] The resurrection is the climax of grace as God’s gift, because God doesn’t just leave us in the ground, he raises us to life with and in him.[20] Though Paul elsewhere places great emphasis on the cross, here it is impossible to separate the death and resurrection in the soteriological purposes of God in Christ. The Gospel can’t exist unless both are present.[21]

He begins in verses 1-11 by establishing some common ground.[22] He presupposes Christ’s resurrection, rather than apologetically arguing for it, approaching the discussion as one who recognizes that the Corinthians haven’t rejected the resurrection, but rather have their theology somewhat confused. He comes as a teacher, to correct.[23] The reference to Jesus’ death rejects Docetism – a movement arguing that Jesus only seemed to be human – emphasizing that he was human and that he died a real death.[24] He then cites eyewitnesses to affirm the resurrection.[25]

In verses 12-20 and 29-34, he unpacks the implications if there were no resurrection. He begins by asking why, if they believed in Jesus’ resurrection, they would reject their own.[26] The implication of the rejection of the resurrection is expounded in the following verse; if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ was not raised, and if he was not raised, everything Paul has been proclaiming about the Gospel is invalid, and their faith is futile. In verses 29-34 he reveals how such an implication would invariably mean all his effort was for nothing. [27] The most serious implication of the rejection of the resurrection, which he picks up in following verses, is that if there is no resurrection, then death is unconquered and, hence, there would be no salvation.[28]

The reason for their rejection was likely due to the Hellenistic culture. As argued above, the concept of a corporeal resurrection was entirely foreign. It was not the resurrection they were rejecting, rather the physical bodily resurrection.[29] It is also likely, as evidenced from previous passages, such as their desire for spiritual gifts, their belief that all things are lawful and beneficial to them, etc. that the Corinthians already saw themselves as spiritual and “above” the physical. Therefore, they only had to rid themselves of the humiliation of humanity. [30] Furthermore, the belief that they could eat, drink and be merry was due to their rejection of the resurrection; they didn’t care about the body or the consequences, since only death was in store for them.[31]

In verses 21-28 Paul discusses the positive implications of the resurrection of the dead, which ultimately points toward the glory of God. He argues that Christ has risen from the dead, thus there is no reason to reject their own resurrection.[32] By labeling Jesus as the “first fruits” he connects Jesus’ resurrection with the future, general resurrection, the beginning of the eschatological resurrection, which comes through Jesus and for Jesus’ glorification.[33] The passive perfect “has been raised” signifies God the Father’s activity and the on-going effects of this resurrection.[34] God, through Jesus’ resurrection, has set in motion the final victory over death.[35] If the resurrection is real then there is real purpose and meaning to be found in life.[36] In Jesus, we rise, unified in Jesus; in Adam, we die, unified in Adam. This completes God’s purpose in creating humanity.[37]

The remainder of the chapter discusses how the dead are raised and what form they will be raised in. Paul mocks the idea that the resurrected body will be of the same substance, arguing it will not be subject to death and decay.[38] Here he is evidently influenced by his Pharisaic background, with his image of the perfected flesh.[39] He argues from nature that there are different sorts of bodies; the human body is different to the fish or the birds, so why can’t the spiritual body be different to the material body? They are still a physical body, yet entirely different. He continues this train of thought and uses an analogy of a seed, something which goes into the ground one thing and comes out an entirely different thing, emphasizing the new nature of the resurrected body.[40]

Semantically, he distinguishes between the material body and the spiritual body by using the words sōma psychikon and sōma pneumatikon, respectively. The former refers to creatures of body and spirit, the latter to an inherited spiritual, heavenly body. This new body is animated by the Holy Spirit when a divine transformation at the parousia occurs, causing bodies to be made fit for heavenly existence.[41] He ends on an ethical and moral exhortation to stand firm and to live in light of the resurrection that has come in Jesus and is still yet to come for all his followers.[42]

Conclusion

Paul’s understanding of the resurrection, heavily influenced by his Jewish background, was of a physical, bodily resurrection. This body, however, will be transformed and animated by the Holy Spirit, adapted to the new heavenly conditions. He rejects the Platonic understanding of the immortal soul and implores the Corinthians to do similarly. If there is no immortal soul or a physical resurrection, death is still victorious. Paul, however, doxologically declares the glory of God the Father in this passage, naming God as victor over everything, even death. The resurrection of the dead is the pinnacle event of this victory, and of our salvation.

Bibliography

Blomberg, Craig. 1 Corinthians. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994.

Boer, Martinus C. de. The Defeat of Death: Apocalyptic Eschatology in 1 Corinthians 15 and Romans 5. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1988.

Croy, N Clayton. “Hellenistic Philosophies and the Preaching of the Resurrection (Acts 17:18, 32).” Novum Testamentum 39, no. 1 (1997): 21-39.

Dunn, James D. G. The Theology of Paul the Apostle. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998.

Dunn, James D. G. “How Are the Dead Raised? With Body Do They Come? Reflections on 1 Corinthians 15.” Southwestern Journal of Theology 45, no. 1 (2002): 4-18.

Elledge, C. D. “Resurrection of the Dead: Exploring Our Earliest Evidence Today.” In Resurrection: The Origin and Future of a Biblical Doctrine, edited by James H. Charlesworth. New York: T & T Clark, 2006.

Endsjo, Dag Oistein. “Immortal Bodies, before Christ: Bodily Continuity in Ancient Greece and 1 Corinthians.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 30, no. 4 (2008): 417-436.

Fee, Gordon D. The First Epistle to the Corinthians. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1988.

Garland, David E. 1 Corinthians. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003.

Holleman, Joost. Resurrection & Parousia: A Traditio-Historical Study of Paul’s Eschatology in 1 Corinthians 15. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1996.

Isaac, E. “1 (Ethiopic Apocalypse of) Enoch.” In The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, edited by James H. Charlesworth. London: Darton Longman & Todd Ltd, 1983.

Klijn, A. F. J. “2 (Syriac Apocalypse of) Baruch.” In The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha edited by James H. Charlesworth. London: Darton Longman & Todd Ltd, 1983.

Kreitzer, L. J. “Resurrection.” In Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, edited by Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin and Daniel G. Reid, 805-812. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

Murphy-O’Connor, Jerome. “1 and 2 Corinthians.” In The Cambridge Companion to St Paul, edited by James D. G. Dunn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Nichols, Terence. Death and Afterlife: A Theological Introduction. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2010.

Novak, David. “Jewish Eschatology.” In The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology, edited by Jerry L. Walls. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2008.

Prior, David. The Message of 1 Corinthians. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1985.

Rowland, Christopher. “The Eschatology of the New Testament Church.” In The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology, edited by Jerry L. Walls. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2008.

Segal, Alan F. “Paul’s Jewish Presuppositions.” In The Cambridge Companion to St Paul, edited by James D. G. Dunn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Sider, Ronald J. “St. Paul’s Understanding of the Nature and Significance of the Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:1-19.” Novum Testamentum 19, no. 2 (1977): 124-141.

Smith, Ben C., “Www.Textexcavation.Com/Qumran4q521″, Text Excavation  (accessed 15/05/2012).

Thiselton, Anthony C. The First Epistle to the Corinthians. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000.

Witherington, Ben. Conflict & Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995.


[1] L. J. Kreitzer, “Resurrection,” in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, ed. Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid(Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1993). 806.

[2] Terence Nichols, Death and Afterlife: A Theological Introduction (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2010). 19-23.

[3] C. D. Elledge, “Resurrection of the Dead: Exploring Our Earliest Evidence Today,” in Resurrection: The Origin and Future of a Biblical Doctrine, ed. James H. Charlesworth(New York: T & T Clark, 2006). 24-26. Cf. Nichols. 24-25; Kreitzer. 806; David Novak, “Jewish Eschatology,” in The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology, ed. Jerry L. Walls(New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2008). 123.

[4] Christopher Rowland, “The Eschatology of the New Testament Church,” in The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology, ed. Jerry L. Walls(New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2008). 57. Cf. Novak. 123.

[5] E. Isaac, “1 (Ethiopic Apocalypse of) Enoch,” in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed. James H. Charlesworth(London: Darton Longman & Todd Ltd, 1983). 36-37.

[6] A. F. J. Klijn, “2 (Syriac Apocalypse of) Baruch,” in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha ed. James H. Charlesworth(London: Darton Longman & Todd Ltd, 1983). 631.

[7] Ben C. Smith, “Www.Textexcavation.Com/Qumran4q521”, Text Excavation  (accessed 15/05/2012).

[8] Alan F. Segal, “Paul’s Jewish Presuppositions,” in The Cambridge Companion to St Paul, ed. James D. G. Dunn(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).  165.

[9] Cf. Joost Holleman, Resurrection & Parousia: A Traditio-Historical Study of Paul’s Eschatology in 1 Corinthians 15 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1996). 205.

[10] Nichols. 23.

[11] N Clayton Croy, “Hellenistic Philosophies and the Preaching of the Resurrection (Acts 17:18, 32),” Novum Testamentum 39, no. 1 (1997). 29.

[12] Ibid. 29.

[13] David Prior, The Message of 1 Corinthians (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1985). 256.

[14] Dag Oistein Endsjo, “Immortal Bodies, before Christ: Bodily Continuity in Ancient Greece and 1 Corinthians,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 30, no. 4 (2008). 418.

[15] David E. Garland, 1 Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003). 700.

[16] Croy. 29-34.

[17] Endsjo. 418-34. Cf. Ben Witherington, Conflict & Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995). 302.

[18] Witherington. 292-93.

[19] James D. G. Dunn, “How Are the Dead Raised? With Body Do They Come? Reflections on 1 Corinthians 15,” Southwestern Journal of Theology 45, no. 1 (2002). 5.

[20] Anthony C. Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000). 1169. Thiselton states, “It brings to a climax the theme of grace as God’s sovereign free gift through the cross to which “the dead” contribute no particular “knowledge” or “experience,” but do indeed undergo transformation of life and lifestyle through “God, who gives life to the dead” (Rom 4:17) on the basis of promise,” (p.1169).

[21] James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998). 235. Also, Prior. 256.

[22] Gordon D. Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1988). 714.

[23] Witherington. 291. Cf. Garland. 678.

[24] Craig Blomberg, 1 Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994). 296. Also, Witherington. 299.

[25] Ronald J. Sider, “St. Paul’s Understanding of the Nature and Significance of the Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:1-19,” Novum Testamentum 19, no. 2 (1977). 140-41. Sider states, “When Paul learned that widespread opposition at Corinth to the notion of a bodily resurrection of believers had led to serious questioning or unacceptable reinterpretation of the nature of Jesus’ resurrection, he was very disturbed. In order to establish his fundamental belief in Jesus’ bodily resurrection he cited the eyewitnesses of the appearances. Apparently Paul thought that the question of whether Jesus rose from the dead was a factual question which could be settled by citing the historical evidence,” (pp.140-41).

[26] Fee. 713.

[27] Witherington. 302-303. Also, Fee. 714; Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, “1 and 2 Corinthians,” in The Cambridge Companion to St Paul, ed. James D. G. Dunn(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003). 82.

[28] Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle. 488. Cf. Garland. 681. Cf. Boer, “Behind the human reality of dying and the promise of resurrection, there is an apocalyptic confrontation of cosmic proportions between God’s Messiah and the power of death which has subjugated and alienated all human beings from God,” (Martinus C. de Boer, The Defeat of Death: Apocalyptic Eschatology in 1 Corinthians 15 and Romans 5 (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1988). 139).

[29] Fee. 715. Also, Blomberg. 295; Endsjo. 417-418; Garland. 699-670.

[30] Fee. 715. On this, Fee contends, “In their view, by the reception of the Spirit, and especially the gift of tongues, they had already entered the true “spirituality” that is to be (4:8); already they had begun a form of angelic existence (13:1; cf. 4:9; 7:1-7) in which the body was unnecessary and unwanted, and would finally be destroyed. Thus for them life in the Spirit meant a final ridding oneself of the body, not because it was evil but because it was inferior and beneath them; the idea that the body would be raised would have been anathema,” (p.715).

[31] Witherington. 292.

[32] Holleman. 205. Also, Fee. 714; Garland. 678; Murphy-O’Connor. 82.

[33] Holleman. 203. Cf. Witherington. 304.

[34] Witherington. 300.

[35] Fee. 717.

[36] Prior. 277. Cf. Rowland. 57.

[37] Holleman. 206. According to Holleman, “Jesus represents all those who are faithful to him. The latter will therefore join the risen Lord in that they will be raised with him. Jesus represents all those who will be raised just as Adam represents all who die. Those who are ‘in Christ’ will be raised as a result of their unity with Christ, the ones ‘in Adam’ will die because of their unity with Adam,” (p. 206).

[38] Dunn, “How Are the Dead Raised? With Body Do They Come? Reflections on 1 Corinthians 15.” 17-18.

[39] Segal. 167.

[40] Witherington. 307-311. Cf. Garland. 725; Murphy-O’Connor. 83

[41] Dunn, “How Are the Dead Raised? With Body Do They Come? Reflections on 1 Corinthians 15.” 17; Fee. 714-715; Witherington. 308-309; Segal. 168-169; Garland. 739-740.

[42] Witherington. 306, 311; Garland. 715.

A Catholic Journey: An Exploration of the Theological Journey Between the Two Vatican Councils

Introduction

The Roman Catholic Church has been an ever-moving, ever-changing entity, with theological shifts marked by drama and often a great Council. The Council of Trent in the 16th century – a reaction to the Protestant Reformation – paved the way for the doctrines dogmatized three centuries later at the First Vatican Council, the 20th Catholic Council. Vatican 1 accomplished only two of its proposed 53 doctrines before the Council was abruptly ceased in 1870, but is associated with the dogmatization of papal infallibility and its heavy reaction to modernism and liberalism. Its decrees went practically unchallenged until the mid-war years of the 1920s and 1930s, when personal spirituality grew, as did the role of the laity in the church as a result. By the 1950s the church was battling a myriad of political and social shifts, and Pope John XXIII – expected to merely be a temporary pope – announced the Second Vatican Council in 1958 (to begin in 1962), to continue and finalize the First, and to influence the Church to open itself up to the world. This Council, the biggest in Catholic history, was remarkably influential, encouraging themes of ecumenism, ecclesiology and equality, among others. This essay analyses the historical and theological journey between these two important Councils, assessing what influenced their occurrences and theological declarations, before concluding with assessing the influence they have on the Roman Catholic Church today.

A Theological Journey

Regarded as occupying the throne of St. Peter longer than anyone except Peter Himself, Pope Pius IX (1846-1878) began politically liberal before being removed from authority for 18 months after a revolution in the Papal States in 1848. Upon returning, his liberalism dramatically different, he only held control of the States until 1860 when the Italian king, Victor Emmanuel, forced Pius to hand them all except Rome over to him.[1] Pius’ career is notably a reaction against modernism and liberalism, dogmatizing the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin in 1854, influencing Ecuador to declare Christianity as the only legal faith in 1862, and publishing Syllabus of Errors in 1864, in which he condemned rationalism, socialism, separation of the Church and state,[2] and the idea that “Protestantism is nothing more than another form of the same true Christian religion.”[3]

His reaction to modernism and liberalism is most obvious in the announcement of the First Vatican Council in 1867,[4] in response to the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars as well as questions surrounding the authority of the church.[5] As McIntire notes, “Vatican 1 sought to define authoritatively the church’s doctrine concerning the faith and the church, especially in response to new challenges from secular philosophical and political movements and theological liberalism.”[6]

Vatican 1 was to be the 20th Council, preceded by the Council of Trent (1545-1563) which was a reaction to the Protestant Reformation enhancing papal authority, elevating tradition and celibacy, reiterating the seven sacraments and emphasizing the propitiatory sacrificial nature of the transubstantiated Eucharist, among others. Vatican 1 was a push to dogmatize “the papal infallibility that was already inherent in the Council of Trent.”[7] 700 bishops were present for the opening of the Council in December 1869, with 100 from America and 60 from the Eastern Rite.[8]

Pius’ document Dei Filius, published on the third session of the Council hinted at his desire for a dogmatized papal infallibility, in which it states,

For the doctrine of faith, which God has revealed, is handed down, not as some philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly declared.[9]

Some, such as Archbishop Manning and Bishop Senestrey appreciated this desire, vowing to see papal infallibility dogmatized,[10] but others, notably John Henry Newman and Johann Ignaz von Dӧllinger, attacked the idea. Newman argued the doctrine was being accepted too hastily and Dӧllinger argued that previous popes had disagreed with one another, hence the doctrine was contradictory.[11] The doctrine was, however, voted in on the 18th of July 1870 and Pastor Aeternus was published, stating,

We teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman pontiff speaks ex cathedra (that is, when he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority), he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals.[12]

The English representative in Rome, Odo Russell, in a letter to Lord Granville lamented, “the supreme absolutism of Rome at last [has] been obtained, established and dogmatized for which the Papacy has contended more than a thousand years.”[13] Any form of ecumenism meant returning to Roman Catholicism and “did not involve any real compromise with Eastern Rite Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants.”[14] The Council ended abruptly when Victor Emmanuel invaded Rome on the 20th of September 1870 to ensure a united Italy. Pius locked himself in the Vatican and excommunicated anyone involved in capturing Rome. The Council completed only two of the 53 proposed documents, and was adjourned indefinitely due to the Franco-Prussian War.[15]

The doctrines established at Vatican 1 remained unchallenged until the inter-war years of the 1920s and 1930s. Despite incredible social and political difficulties that these years brought, many Catholics cultivated spiritual lifestyles which led to a greater emphasis on and participation of the laity within the church. Further, the ever-encroaching modernism caused theologians to articulate a more individual and personal faith, including the encouragement of participation and individual study.[16] In 1923 Pope Pius XI suggested a council in response to World War One and in 1958 Pope Pius XII hinted at a council to conclude the work of Vatican 1.[17] Yet it was not until after he died that the idea of a council became a possibility.

With the gradual increase of laity participation, it seemed the church was heading in a somewhat liberal direction,[18] and the strong hierarchical structures dogmatized at Vatican 1 began to be seen as emphasizing inequality amongst church members, “not only because among the faithful some are clergy and some are laity, but because there is in the church the power from God by which it is given to some to sanctify, teach, and govern, and to others it is not.”[19] Theologians argued this structure was not existent until post-Apostolic times.[20]

After Pius XII died in 1958, the cardinals had difficulty in electing a new pope, and so elevated Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli to the position at 76 years old, who was merely expected to be temporary[21] and “keep the chair of Peter warm.”[22] He adopted the name John XXIII and desiring for the church to be more involved in the world, quickly announced the Second Vatican Council. 1959-1962 were thus awash with literature debating the announcement, such as the Bishop of Paderborn’s Ecumenical Council of the Church and Hans Küng’s Council, Reform and Renewal.[23]

The 1960s brought a great deal of changes in society, seemingly bringing a process of “dechristianisation.”[24] Catholics were divided on how to respond to these changes, but an element of pluralism became evident.[25] As a result, “the intention was not to erect a Berlin Wall around the faith…but to inaugurate a continuous process of internal debate, renewal and evangelisation,”[26] and opening itself up to the world, unlike Vatican 1 which closed itself.[27] The Council was to give a greater sense of identity in face of all this,[28] and 2540 delegates[29] met over four sessions between 1962 and 1965 to revolutionise the church’s approach to ecclesiology and ecumenism. John XXIII died after the first session, but Paul VI continued the Council.[30] In 1964 Euw wrote that the Council “is accomplishing a thorough re-formation…For the Protestant too this phenomenon should have great meaning,” and that “this Tridentine and post-Trent theology of the Church is being radically reappraised and ruthlessly revised by the Council.”[31]

The Council discussed a range of topics, including implementing a non-Latin liturgy,[32] tradition,[33] and as a result of the Council, 16 documents were published, with two in particular as being seen as “twin pillars”: Lumen Gentium (“The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church”) and Gaudium et spes (“Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World”).[34] These two documents asserted, along with the other 14 documents, that the Church is a mystery, more so than an institution; a People of God, more than hierarchy; a servant; communion; ecumenical, rather than the Catholic Church as the only true Church; and an eschatological community, awaiting the coming of the Kingdom of God.[35] Lumen Gentium asserted that the laity are called to live in the world “by God so that by carrying out their own special function in the spirit of the gospel they may work for the sanctification of the world.”[36] Furthermore, Gaudium et spes, thoroughly aimed out at the world, finds at its core a sense of community,[37] and it is in these documents that Protestants were first recognized as Christian.[38]

McBrien helpfully compares the theological changes implemented by Vatican 2, particularly those implemented by Vatican 1:[39]

Pre-Vatican 2                                                         Vatican 2

Church as institution.                                         Church as mystery.

Church as hierarchy.                                          Church as People of God.

Mission: Word and sacrament.                       Mission: Word, sacrament and service.

Church as absolute monarchy.                       Church as communion.

One, true Church.                                                 Church as ecumenical community.

Triumphalism (Church as Kingdom).           Church as eschatological community.

Hence, quite a drastic shift is obvious.

Journey Since Vatican 2

Oviedo describes two parties who have responded negatively in the aftermath of Vatican 2. The first is the “Disappointed Party,” who expected much more than what eventuated; the second, the “Alarmed Party,” who felt too much was changing, too quickly.[40] Hagstrom notes that even today the teachings are not well known.[41] However, closer inspection will reveal that the Council influenced a lot. Smith argues that lots of activity, joint prayer gatherings and ecumenical discussions occurred immediately after.[42] The generation of Catholics of the time experienced “a sense of euphoria similar to the time of the Enlightenment…Many people in the Church felt a sense of freedom and progress as never before.”[43] Some ecumenical progress, albeit minimal, has been made. The Pope has met with Anglican leaders, evangelical protestants and has engaged with social and political issues.[44] It should, therefore, be seen that since Vatican 2, the Catholic Church’s engagement with ecumenism and with the world has increased. Furthermore, more laypeople are assisting services, and more Catholics are reading the bible for themselves.[45]

An influential thinker was Schillebeeckx. Perceiving a greater biblical slant in the documents of Vatican 2, Schillebeeckx poured over and incorporated recent biblical studies into his theology regarding the meaning of Christian faith.[46] Furthermore, he stated shortly after the Council, “The fundamental gain of this constitution is that it broke the clergy’s monopoly of the liturgy,”[47] and then, in 1989, “the co-responsibility of all believers for the church on the basis of our baptism and the Spirit essentially includes the participation of all believers in decisions relating to church government.”[48] Hence, he was influenced by Vatican 2’s encouragement of the ministry of the layperson.

Vatican 2 expressed openness to greater ecumenical discussion, furthered by theologians such as Schillebeeckx, among others in post-conciliar years. Gaudium et spes notes that “the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the gospel,”[49] and “under the light of Christ…the Council wishes to speak to all men in order to shed light on the mystery of man and to co-operate in finding the solution to the outstanding problems of our time.”[50] McIntire argues that the solution to the divisions is not returning to Rome, but in an open future.[51] Furthermore, in light of the efforts made already, Sundberg is convinced there is a future for ecumenism.[52] Others agree, some going further to call for a Third Vatican Council.[53] The controversial Catholic writer, Hans Küng was among them, in 2001, arguing that the Church “should convene a Vatican 3, which will lead this church from Roman Catholicism to an authentic Catholicity.”[54]

Conclusion

The ambitious Pope Pius IX has clearly had significant and ongoing influence on the Church, even to this day. His reaction to a growing modernism and a push for the separation of church and state resulted in the First Vatican Council and its defining dogmatization of papal infallibility. The Council put in place strong hierarchical positions, which eventually made inequality within the Church to become obvious, and rejected any ecumenical approach that would entail acceptance of Protestantism as Christian. Though it was cut short in 1870, the main themes were picked up again at the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, though through a different perspective. Initiated by Pope John XXIII and Paul VI, this Council responded to a growing need for the Church to open itself up with the world. The Church recognized Protestantism and Orthodoxy as Christian, encouraged ecumenism, elevated the role of the laity and deemphasized the hierarchical structure of the church. The Council’s influence has since encouraged a greater participation in political and social issues in the world and engaged in a greater amount of discussion with non-Catholics. The influence of these great Councils has been obvious and it is clear their influence will continue for many years to come.

Bibliography

Atkin, Nicholas, and Frank Tallett. Priests, Prelates & People: A History of European Catholicism since 1750. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Chadwick, Owen. Catholicism and History: The Opening of the Vatican Archives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978.

Council, Second Vatican. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. Melbourne: A.C.T.S Publications, 1964.

Council, Second Vatican. Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. Melbourne: A.C.T.S. Publications, 1965.

Council, Second Vatican. “Sacrosanctum Concilium.” In The Christian Theology Reader, edited by Alister McGrath. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

Euw, Charles K. Von. “The Second Vatican Council: A First-Hand Report.” Andover Newton Quarterly 4, no. 3 (1964): 15-22.

Hagstrom, Aurelie A. The Emerging Laity: Vocation, Mission, and Spirituality. New York: Paulist Press, 2010.

Hill, Jonathan. The New Lion Handbook: The History of Christianity. Oxford: Lion Hudson plc., 2007.

Kennedy, Philip. Schillebeeckx. Collegeville, USA: The Liturgical Press, 1993.

Kung, Hans. The Catholic Church: A Short History. New York: Modern Library, 2001.

Manschrek, Clyde L. A History of Christianity: Readings in the History of the Church. Vol. 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 1964.

McBrien, Richard P. “If Pope Has Final Say, Why Fuss with Councils?” In Report on the Church: Catholicism after Vatican 2, edited by Richard P. McBrien. New York: HarperCollins Publications, 1992.

McBrien, Richard P. The Church: The Evolution of Catholicism. New York: HarperCollins, 2008.

McGrath, Alister. The Christian Theology Reader. 4 ed. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

McIntire, C. T. “Vatican Council 1.” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, edited by Walter A. Elwell. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1984.

McIntire, C. T. “Vatican Council 2.” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, edited by Walter A. Elwell. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1984.

Neuhaus, Richard John. “What Really Happened at Vatican 2.” First Things October (2008): 23-27.

Oviedo, Lluis. “Should We Say That the Second Vatican Council Has Failed?” The Heythrop Journal 49, no. 1 (2008): 716-730.

Pius. “Syllabus of Errors.” In A History of Christianity: Readings in the History of the Church, edited by Clyde L. Manschreck, 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 1964.

________. “Dei Filius.” In The Christian Theology Reader, edited by Alister McGrath. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

________. “Pastor Aeternus.” In The Christian Theology Reader, edited by Alister McGrath. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

Russel, Odo. “Russell to Granville.” In The Roman Question: Extracts from the Despatches of Odo Russell from Rome, 1858-1870, edited by N. Blakiston. London: Chapman and Hall, 1962.

Schillebeeckx, E. Vatican 2: The Real Achievement. London: Sheed and Ward, 1967.

Schillebeeckx, Edward. Church: The Human Story of God. London: SCM Press, 1989.

Smit, Peter-Ben. “The Developing Understanding of Authority and Primacy in Anglican-Roman Catholic-Old Catholic Dialogue after the Second Vatican Council.” International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church 8, no. 3 (2008): 211-231.

Smith, Virginia. “Catholicism Welcomes the World.” In Vatican 2 Today: Calling Catholics to Holiness and Service, edited by Judy Ball and Joan McKamey. Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2005.

Sundberg, Walter. “Does Ecumenism Have a Future?” Word and World 18, no. 2 (1998): 172-78.

Wintz, Jack, and John Feister. “Road Map for the Future: Teachings of Vatican 2.” In Vatican 2 Today: Calling Catholics to Holiness and Service, edited by Judy Ball and Joan McKamey. Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2005.


[1] Jonathan Hill, The New Lion Handbook: The History of Christianity (Oxford: Lion Hudson plc., 2007). 363.

[2] Clyde L. Manschrek, A History of Christianity: Readings in the History of the Church, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 1964). 366-68.

[3] Pius, “Syllabus of Errors,” in A History of Christianity: Readings in the History of the Church, ed. Clyde L. Manschreck(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 1964). 372. In other words, that Protestantism was certainly not Christian.

[4] Manschrek. 368.

[5] Alister McGrath, The Christian Theology Reader, 4 ed. (London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011). 30.

[6] C. T. McIntire, “Vatican Council 1,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A. Elwell(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1984). 1237.

[7] Manschrek. 115.

[8] Nicholas Atkin and Frank Tallett, Priests, Prelates & People: A History of European Catholicism since 1750 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003). 137.

[9] Pius, “Dei Filius,” in The Christian Theology Reader, ed. Alister McGrath(London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011). 32.

[10] Atkin and Tallett. 137.

[11] Hill. 364. Dӧllinger sought a document rumoured to be held within the archives. This document, Liber Diurnus Romanorum Pontificum, was believed to be a daily handbook of the papal chancellery between 750 and 1050 and was believed to contain evidence that the 7th century Pope Honorius was guilty of heresy and implies his excommunication by later popes. Thus Dӧllinger wanted the document to further his argument against papal infallibility. Following the Council, there was much controversy surrounding the documents held within the Vatican Library and Archives. When the Italian army invaded in 1870, it was feared that either a) the documents would fall under State ownership and thus sensitive material would then become public knowledge, or b) Vatican officials would destroy any sensitive documents before they were made public. All documents henceforth were impossible to get to, and so Liber Diurnus was never used against the doctrine of papal infallibility, despite the archives eventually opening under Pope Leo XIII (Owen Chadwick, Catholicism and History: The Opening of the Vatican Archives (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978). 72 – 108.

[12] Pius, “Pastor Aeternus.” in The Christian Theology Reader, ed. Alister McGrath (London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011). 432.

[13] Odo Russel, “Russell to Granville,” in The Roman Question: Extracts from the Despatches of Odo Russell from Rome, 1858-1870, ed. N. Blakiston(London: Chapman and Hall, 1962). 459.

[14] Atkin and Tallett. 138.

[15] Ibid. 139-140. Cf. McIntire. 1237.

[16] Atkin and Tallett. 232-33.

[17] Ibid. 289.

[18] Ibid. 233.

[19] McGrath. 389. Furthermore, as Hagstrom discusses, laity were seen as merely children, not the subject of conciliar teaching for 400 years, (Aurelie A. Hagstrom, The Emerging Laity: Vocation, Mission, and Spirituality (New York: Paulist Press, 2010). 11) and insisted with greater fervour that Roman Catholicism was the only source of true salvation, (Richard P. McBrien, The Church: The Evolution of Catholicism (New York: HarperCollins, 2008). 8).

[20] McGrath. 389.

[21] Atkin and Tallett. 289.

[22] Hagstrom. 10.

[23] Atkin and Tallett. 290. This announcement came as a shock to many, as McBrien wrote on July 15, 1966, “The Second Vatican Council must have been a puzzling phenomenon for the Catholic who had always regarded the Church as an absolute monarchy. After all, in 1870, the First Vatican Council defined the infallibility of the pope. Presumably that should have been the council to end all councils.” (Richard P. McBrien, “If Pope Has Final Say, Why Fuss with Councils?,” in Report on the Church: Catholicism after Vatican 2, ed. Richard P. McBrien(New York: HarperCollins Publications, 1992). 3).

[24] Atkin and Tallett. 265.

[25] Ibid. 266.

[26] Ibid. 265.

[27] Ibid. 292. As Atkin and Tallett argue, “Vatican 1 in 1870 was an exercise in trench-digging, an attempt to establish the Church as a fortress against an unregenerate and irreligious outside world. Vatican 2 was conceived less as an event than as an initiation of a process which would harmonise the Church and the political and social environment,” (ibid. 292).

[28] Hill. 434.

[29] Including over 1000 from across Europe, 956 from America, 279 from Africa, 300 or so from Asia and a surprisingly small 20% were Italian, traditionally the most prominent, (Atkin and Tallett. 291).

[30] McGrath. 78.

[31] Charles K. Von Euw, “The Second Vatican Council: A First-Hand Report,” Andover Newton Quarterly 4, no. 3 (1964). 15.

[32] Which received great criticism from Conservatives who argued Latin united people from many nations and changing it would remove the mystique. This change was pushed heavily by those involved in missions, such Duschak from the Philippines who argued that mass should have any European elements entirely stripped away and should be available for inter-faith services, (Atkin and Tallett. 292-93). The document Sacrosanctum Concilium, published during the 2nd session of Vatican 2 offered a series of theological statements as well as practical recommendations regarding the Eucharist, linking the sacrament with the everyday life of the church, (Second Vatican Council, “Sacrosanctum Concilium,” in The Christian Theology Reader, ed. Alister McGrath(London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011). 486-87).

[33] Which, contrarily to Trent, was decided as being important in biblical interpretation, but not another source of revelation, and hence not equal to the Bible, (Atkin and Tallett. 293).

[34] McBrien, The Church: The Evolution of Catholicism. 153, 182.

[35] Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Melbourne: A.C.T.S Publications, 1964). and Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Melbourne: A.C.T.S. Publications, 1965).

[36] Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. n.31. This clearly sets Vatican 2 apart from Vatican 1 and Trent.

[37] Cf. Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. n.19, 22 and 32.

[38] McIntire, “Vatican Council 2.” 1240.

[39] McBrien, The Church: The Evolution of Catholicism. 181.

[40] Lluis Oviedo, “Should We Say That the Second Vatican Council Has Failed?,” The Heythrop Journal 49, no. 1 (2008). 716.

[41] Hagstrom. 1. Hagstrom argues this is so, “because the sixteen documents produced by the council are not exactly beach reading.” (p.1).

[42] Virginia Smith, “Catholicism Welcomes the World,” in Vatican 2 Today: Calling Catholics to Holiness and Service, ed. Judy Ball and Joan McKamey(Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2005). 44.

[43] Oviedo. 718.

[44] For example, in 1966 the Archbishop of Canterbury of the Anglican Church met with Pope Paul VI to establish the “Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission,” which has published several publications since formulation. (Peter-Ben Smit, “The Developing Understanding of Authority and Primacy in Anglican-Roman Catholic-Old Catholic Dialogue after the Second Vatican Council,” International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church 8, no. 3 (2008). The ARCIC published The Church as Communion in 1990, The Gift of Authority in 1998, and in 2007 released a document on ecclesiology. (ibid. 213.).

In 1994, the Catholic Church and evangelical Protestants published a joint document on ecumenical ecclesiology. (Walter Sundberg, “Does Ecumenism Have a Future?,” Word and World 18, no. 2 (1998). 176.

In 1979, the Pope visited America, where he stated, “I want to greet all Americans without distinction. I want to tell everyone that the Pope is your friend and a servant of your humanity.” (Jack Wintz and John Feister, “Road Map for the Future: Teachings of Vatican 2,” in Vatican 2 Today: Calling Catholics to Holiness and Service, ed. Judy Ball and Joan McKamey(Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2005). 6). The Catholic Church engaged with social and political issues, in 1983 on war and peace, 1986 on US economy, and 1999 and 2003 on civil responsibility. (ibid. 7).

[45] Wintz and Feister. 6. Interestingly, as laity involvement has increased, ordained ministers have decreased.

[46] Philip Kennedy, Schillebeeckx (Collegeville, USA: The Liturgical Press, 1993). 13, 67.

[47] E. Schillebeeckx, Vatican 2: The Real Achievement (London: Sheed and Ward, 1967). 27.

[48] Edward Schillebeeckx, Church: The Human Story of God (London: SCM Press, 1989). 209.

[49] Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. n.4.

[50] Ibid. n.10.

[51] C. T. McIntire, “Vatican Council 2,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A. Elwell(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001). 1240.

[52] Sundberg. 176.

[53] Richard John Neuhaus, “What Really Happened at Vatican 2,” First Things October, no. (2008). 24.

[54] Hans Kung, The Catholic Church: A Short History (New York: Modern Library, 2001). 200.

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