Re: [asa] Why couldn't you write your d*mn book more clearly?

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Sat Mar 15 2008 - 12:15:04 EDT

Would it be correct, then, that any Roman Catholic in a teaching position
who holds to a non-monogenetic origin (i.e. an evolutionary origin) for
humanity is a "heretic"?

On Sat, Mar 15, 2008 at 11:42 AM, George Murphy <> wrote:

> 1) The term "heresy" is best reserved for teachers, or those who presume
> to be teachers, in the church. (Cf. James 3:1) The traditional language of
> condemnation, "If anyone says XXXX, let him be anathema" is really directed
> to such teachers rather than those who simply accept what they're told by
> them - though the distinction will not always be clear cut.
> 2) There are nuances between straight orthodoxy & outright heresy that,
> e.g., the RCC uses. The following paragraph from the online Catholic
> Encyclopedia at ,
> while of course stated in terms of that communion's self-understanding, may
> be helpful.
> Both matter and form of heresy admit of degrees which find expression in
> the following technical formula of theology and canon law. Pertinacious
> adhesion to a doctrine contradictory to a point of faith clearly defined by
> the Church is heresy pure and simple, heresy in the first degree. But if the
> doctrine in question has not been expressly "defined" or is not clearly
> proposed as an article of faith in the ordinary, authorized teaching of the
> Church, an opinion opposed to it is styled sententia haeresi proxima , that
> is, an opinion approaching heresy. Next, a doctrinal proposition, without
> directly contradicting a received dogma, may yet involve logical
> consequences at variance with revealed truth. Such a proposition is not
> heretical, it is a propositio theologice erronea , that is, erroneous in
> theology. Further, the opposition to an article of faith may not be strictly
> demonstrable, but only reach a certain degree of probability. In that case
> the doctrine is termed sententia de haeresi suspecta, haeresim sapiens ;
> that is, an opinion suspected, or savouring, of heresy (see THEOLOGICAL
> The phrase "tantamount to heresy" is also used sometimes.
> 3) But with all that, I agree that we ought to be cautious about tossing
> around the terms "heresy" or "heretic."
> Shalom
> George
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:*
> *To:* ; ; Gordon.Brown@Colorado.EDU;
> *Sent:* Saturday, March 15, 2008 10:00 AM
> *Subject:* Re: [asa] Why couldn't you write your d*mn book more clearly?
> On the other hand, the definition of "heresy" has to change with the
> times. More truth has been revealed and we are morally responsible for what
> we do with it. As an extreme but clear example, there are truths that
> weren't revealed until the NT era, which to deny would be an indicator
> that we don't know God at all.
> I don't think YECism is categorically "heresy" because I'm not convinced
> the scientific data are equally accessible to all persons. Therefore,
> denying the age of the Earth doesn't categorically indicate that we don't
> know God. But surely people who don't have a heart willing to submit to
> real truth are committing grave error. Some YEC's are indicating greater
> error than others because they have greater access to the truth and really
> ought to know better. Ancient YECism was no sin at all since there was no
> access to the truth at all. The sin isn't in how much truth we have
> available to us, but our willingness to submit to the truths that we do have
> and what our response says about the state of our hearts.
> Phil
> -----Original Message-----
> From: George Murphy <>
> To: John Walley <>; 'gordon brown' <
> Gordon.Brown@Colorado.EDU>;
> Sent: Sat, 15 Mar 2008 9:02 am
> Subject: Re: [asa] Why couldn't you write your d*mn book more clearly?
> I have to dissent. Ham's notion that a ~6000 year old earth & "no death
> before the fall" are essential to Christianity is nonsense but those are, in
> fact, ideas that many - at some times the great majority - of Christians,
> including leaders of the church, have held. We can't postumously
> anathematize them. While dangerous & disruptive nonsense should be called
> what it is & vigorously opposed, it is not necessarily formal heresy.
> Shalom
> George
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "John Walley" <>
> To: "'gordon brown'" <Gordon.Brown@Colorado.EDU>; <>
> Sent: Friday, March 14, 2008 11:29 PM
> Subject: RE: [asa] Why couldn't you write your d*mn book more clearly?
> Maybe Ken Ham doesn't technically deny any of the fundamentals that we
> otherwise share, but he does add a couple of more of his own, like a 6000
> year old earth and no death before the fall which they consider part of
> the
> litmus test for orthodoxy. Which is worse, denying shared fundamentals or
> adding burdensome and falsifiable extra fundamentals? The net result is
> the
> same, false and destructive teaching. And the NY speaks very harshly
> about
> this.
> Granted I would like to give every average church going YEC the benefit
> of
> the doubt and attempt to show them why this is important and hopefully
> they
> wouldn't still insist on it, but in the case of the hardcore ones that
> steadfastly refused (like Ham) then I think you have to take action. We
> see
> a pretty good parallel of this in the NT when the Judaizers added to the
> gospel the doctrine that they also keep the Jewish law and for which Paul
> had a strong rebuke and called "another gospel".
> Thanks
> John
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [<>]
> On
> Behalf Of gordon brown
> Sent: Friday, March 14, 2008 10:49 PM
> To:
> Subject: RE: [asa] Why couldn't you write your d*mn book more clearly?
> On Fri, 14 Mar 2008, John Walley wrote:
> > Bottom line, I feel Protestantism is flawed because there is currently
> > no mechanism to excommunicate people like Ellen White, Herbert
> > Armstrong and Ken Ham.
> Excommunicating Ken Ham strikes me as being rather extreme. Ellen White
> and Herbert Armstrong founded their own churches because they disagreed
> with traditional Christian doctrine concerning the Bible or the Trinity.
> Granted, Ham reinforces a popular false stereotype of Christians and the
> Bible, and we ought to try to correct that widespread impression, but it
> doesn't seem Biblical to me to want to excommunicate someone because he
> believes in pseudoscience unless he also denies some fundamental of the
> faith. Although he may wish that we who are not YECs could be
> excommunicated, we should strive not to let our differences with YECs
> prevent fellowship with them.
> Gordon Brown (ASA member)
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David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
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Received on Sat Mar 15 12:16:14 2008

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