First, TurretinFan posted a fascinating quote from Erasmus that I had not seen before:
What weight the authority of the church may have with others, I know not; but with me it weighs so much, that I could be of the opinion of the Arians and Pelagians, if the church had approved their doctrines.
TurretinFan asks if Cross, Beckwith, and Liccione could endorse Erasmus’ statement. That is a question that would definitely interest me as well. It surely illustrates sola ecclesia in its most dangerous form. I know one church father who would have rolled his eyes at that statement, one Athanasius of Alexandria.
Then, I encountered Steve Hay’s downright Erasmian lampoon of the Roman position expressed by Cross, Beckwith, and Liccione. It is well worth reading in its entirety, but I only include the final portion here. It borrows from the Manhattan Declaration but this time brings together Trinitarians and Arians (specifically, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the best known representatives of the Arians today).
II. We Affirm Together
Jesus Christ is Lord.
Unless he’s the Archangel Michael.
Either affirmation is rationally defensible.
That is the first and final affirmation and counter-affirmation that Christians make about all of reality.
It’s plausible to believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
It’s plausible to believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
It’s also plausible to believe in Jesus Christ, the first creature.
A fully informed person of good will, with knowledge of the languages, could affirm either reading of Scripture.
What makes this so bitingly humorous is its truth content. It rips the mask of scholarly respectability off of the Roman position and shows it for what it is. I hope people will remember what Frank Beckwith said in defense of Bryan Cross’ errant views on Nicea and the sufficiency of Scripture to demonstrate the deity of Christ. Keep this in mind, all of you ecumenically minded Protestants who are thinking of having Dr. Beckwith speak at your next conference or retreat:
What Bryan is saying is really uncontroversial: the Arian reading of Scripture is not obviously irrational. It is, of course, heretical. But that does not mean that a fully informed person of good will, with knowledge of the languages, could not have come up with the Arian reading of Scripture.