The Theological Troubles of Dr. Eric Svendsen

Written by I. Shawn McElhinney

But I turn to a subject more fitting to myself and remind you as a brother in Christ always to be very careful about what you say to the people in matters of teaching and of your thought on the faith. You should bear in mind that to scandalise even one of these little ones that believe in Christ lays you open to unendurable wrath. If the number of those who are distressed is very large, then surely we should use every skill and care to remove scandals and to expound the healthy word of faith to those who seek the truth. The most effective way to achieve this end will be zealously to occupy ourselves with the words of the holy fathers, to esteem their words, to examine our words to see if we are holding to their faith as it is written, to conform our thoughts to their correct and irreproachable teaching. [1]
In this piece, we will look at a commentary by Dr. Eric Svendsen on what he calls "Roman Catholic Apollinarimonophysites". Dr. Svendsen seems hard-pressed to attach certain heresies to certain online personalities. How well his own theological paradigm stand up to similar scrutiny - and are his assertions accurate ones - will be examined in this commentary of his essay. (In this essay the words of Dr. Svendsen will be in Helvetica font fourteen point type.)

The New Roman Catholic Apollinarimonophysites

This is an interesting title admittedly.

Introduction

The Christological controversies during the fourth and fifth centuries A.D. resulted in a number a views regarding the precise way in which God became man in the Incarnation. The view eventually decided upon at the councils of Chalcedon and Ephesus was that God and man were indissolubly united in the person of Jesus Christ; that is to say, Jesus Christ is one person with two natures, divine and human.

Correct thus far. However, it is important to note that they are two natures hypostatically united to one another. In other words, you cannot separate the divinity and the humanity of Jesus Christ into separate "compartments" if you will. This is why Mary is called the "Mother of God" and why Protestants such as Dr. Svendsen go out of their way to rationalize mysteries of faith. If they applied this tendency consistently, it would undermine Christianity completely.

Many groups during this period tended to overemphasize one aspect of this formula over the other. The Arians emphasized the humanity of Christ at the expense of His deity. The Monophysites (lit., "one nature"), on the other hand, emphasized Christ's deity at the expense of His humanity by teaching that Jesus' humanity was subsumed into his divinity; that is to say, His humanity was divinized. The Apollinarians expressly denied a human personality within Jesus.

Bishop Apollinaris of Laodicia basically sought to be "more Nicene than Nicaea" and in his war against the Arians, succumbed to the opposing error. Basically what Apollinaris was to 360 AD, Dr. Eric Svendsen is to 2001. In both cases the person in question sought to simplify mysteries of faith into a nice neat formula, which in essence compromises the dignity of Christ. In Apollinarisí case it was abandoning the belief that the human soul was the one principle of all human activity. In its place Apollinaris substituted a trichotomist theory of sorts. In this scheme of things, man was body, soul, and spirit. Apollinaris affirmed that Christ had human flesh and the lower animal soul that was the principle of the its sensitive movements. However, he claimed that the rational soul of the humanity of Christ was lacking. (This is the part of the soul that knows and chooses.) Apollinaris denied that Christ possessed this soul in his humanity but claimed that it was only present in his divinity or divine nature. This heresy went unchecked for a while because Apollinaris was such a staunch defender of Nicaea and opposed to the Arians. Nevertheless, in 377 Pope St. Damasus I condemned Apollinarism and deposed Bishop Apollinaris from his see.

However, despite this incident, Dr. Svendsen does not deal with the important heresy of Nestorianism. This is the heresy that denied the hypostatic unity of divinity and humanity in Jesus Christ. Patriarch Nestorius of Constantinople taught this heresy when he proclaimed that Mary was not the Mother of God but only the Mother of Christ. To make such a separation in Christ is to effectively deny the Incarnation de facto. There is no way around this no matter how you slice it. Dr. Svendsen failed to point out the controversy of Nestorianism or the claim that Jesus was not conceived and actually born divine. To quote Patriarch Cyril of Alexandria on the matter of the very overemphization that Dr. Svendsen speaks of:

If, however, we reject the hypostatic union as being either impossible or too unlovely for the Word, we fall into the fallacy of speaking of two sons. We shall have to distinguish and speak both of the man as honoured with the title of son, and of the Word of God as by nature possessing the name and reality of sonship, each in his own way. We ought not, therefore, to split into two sons the one Lord Jesus Christ. Such a way of presenting a correct account of the faith will be quite unhelpful, even though some do speak of a union of persons. For scripture does not say that the Word united the person of a man to himself, but that he became flesh. The Word's becoming flesh means nothing else than that he partook of flesh and blood like us; he made our body his own, and came forth a man from woman without casting aside his deity, or his generation from God the Father, but rather in his assumption of flesh remaining what he was.
This is the account of the true faith everywhere professed. So shall we find that the holy fathers believed. So have they dared to call the holy virgin, mother of God, not as though the nature of the Word or his godhead received the origin of their being from the holy virgin, but because there was born from her his holy body rationally ensouled, with which the Word was hypostatically united and is said to have been begotten in the flesh. [2]
There is a reason why Dr. Svendsen did not want to acknowledge Ephesus - without which one cannot properly understand the condemnation of Apollinarianism or the condemnation of Monophysitism. This also involves the old axiom of the "seamless cloak" of which Catholics speak of their faith in that removing one strand unravels the garment. Let us look at what happens to Dr. Svendsenís arguments when he takes the same approach towards Ephesus as those of the Acacian schism took towards Chalcedon.

It is these two latter groups that are the focal point of our discussion, because modern Roman Catholic e-pologists, in their arguments supporting the Marian title "Mother of God," have abandoned the orthodox distinction between the humanity and divinity of Christ and have instead opted for a hybrid view that incorporates elements of Apollinarianism and Monophysitism.

The Apollinarian Roman Catholic e-pologists

The Roman Catholic e-pologist position goes something like this: Jesus is God; Mary is the Mother of Jesus; therefore, Mary is the Mother of God (see, e.g., http://www.cathinsight.com/apologetics/nestorius.htm , premises 7 & 8, and conclusion; and http://www.cathinsight.com/apologetics/mary.htm).

John Pachecoís premises and conclusion are as follows (from the above link: this writer's commentary interspersed):

The Nestorius Challenge : An open Invitation to Protestants who Reject Mary's Title "Mother of God" JOHN PACHECO
Unlike some internet sites that offer substantial prize money like, oh, say "$100,000" for their ChallengesÖ [3]
(There is a serious problem with blow-hards who post such "challenges" and refuse to put their money where their mouth is. But that is a topic for another time perhaps)
[W]e here at Catholic Insight are more focused on fostering a love for truth rather than a love for money. So there'll be no prize money for the successful candidate, but hey, if you can't answer the Challenge and see the Light, you might win a much greater prize if you know what we mean (wink, wink).
Challenge: In order to reject the conclusion, which premise do you reject and why do you reject it?
Premise 1: God is a being that subsists in three divine persons.
Premise 2: God is immutable.
Premise 3: Each of the three persons share the same divine being (essence, nature, substance). Since each share the same divine being, each person possesses the divine being. One who possess the divine being *is* God. Therefore, the First Person of the Trinity, the Father, is God and the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is God. Both are also numerically distinct divine persons (Premise 1).
Premise 4: But the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, is con-substantial with the other two persons. This means He too is God since He shares their being. Christ, therefore, is TRUE God . If Christ is God, then He too must be a divine person since, firstly, there cannot be a person in God who is not divine, and, secondly, there cannot be a divine non-person in God (Premise 1).
Premise 5: Since each Divine Person shares the same being (Premise 3), and since God is immutable (Premise 2), His *divine* being (essence, nature, substance) cannot be altered or transformed into another being (essence, nature, substance). They must remain unchanged for eternity.
Premise 6: Hence, Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, must remain a divine person *forever* (Premise 5). [This means that the addition of his human nature at the incarnation does not change his divine personhood.]
Premise 7: Since Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ, the Eternal (Premise 6) Second Divine Person of the Blessed Trinity, she is properly called the Mother of the Second Divine person.
Premise 8: The Second Divine Person is God (Premise 4).
Conclusion: Mary is the Mother of God (Premises 7 & 8). [4]
Aside from the logical fallacies inherent in this syllogism (see my book, Evangelical Answers),

This writer had a few people email him over problems they had with some of Dr. Svendsenís arguments or positions early last year. One of them even sent a list he compiled after reading the book. The writer found the points intriguing enough to put them into an essay in September of 2000 shortly after Dr. Svendsen made a rather tactless couple of appearances to a Catholic message board. Here is that essay, which has since that time been revised and shortened.

This writer will further buttress that essay with additional evidence in this essay that Dr. Svendsen is not a credible historian nor is he a competent theologian. (Nor is his Christology fully orthodox.) One step at a time though. †

Evangelicals rightly reject this syllogism based on the distinction between Jesus' humanity (which was "mothered" by Mary) and Jesus' divinity (which had no mother).

No, Evangelicals reject this syllogism based on an implicit Nestorianism:

11. If anyone does not confess that the flesh of the Lord is life-giving and belongs to the Word from God the Father, but maintains that it belongs to another besides him, united with him in dignity or as enjoying a mere divine indwelling, and is not rather life-giving, as we said, since it became the flesh belonging to the Word who has power to bring all things to life, let him be anathema.
12. If anyone does not confess that the Word of God suffered in the flesh and was crucified in the flesh and tasted death in the flesh and became the first born of the dead, although as God he is life and life-giving, let him be anathema. [5]
Is Dr. Svendsen a Nestorian??? The reader can judge based not only on what Dr. Svendsen affirms (teachings condemned by Ephesus), what he denies (teachings that Ephesus affirmed).

Roman Catholic e-pologists like to respond to this objection by insisting that Mary didn't give birth to a nature, but rather a person, and that Jesus was a "divine person" who took on a human nature. This is the Apollinarian heresy resurrected from the theological grave.

No it is not. Apollinarianism was a Christological theory, according to which Christ had a human body and a human sensitive soul, but no human rational mind, the Divine Logos taking the place of this last. At no time that this author is aware of has any of the so-called "e-pologists" embraced this heresy. And a Christian should not be so quick to chalk up what they might see as discrepancies as heresies. The first assumption of a Christian is to give their brethren the benefit of the doubt. But then it is highly doubtful that Dr. Svendsen has any interest in doing that.

According to Apollinaris, Jesus is "the God borne of a woman," the "enfleshed God," and the "flesh-bearing God (Apollinaris, Fragments).

Yes it is always possible to get the full import of a heresy by prooftexting.

In other words, Jesus is God in His personhood, and He is divine and human in His natures. According to Apollinaris, human flesh needs a spirit and intellect to direct it. In Jesus, that spirit and intellect is not a human one, but rather that of the divine Logos; so that (according to this view) while it can be said that the Logos became flesh (i.e., a human nature), it cannot be said that He became a man (i.e., a human person): "Whoever calls Him who was born of Mary a man, and calls Him who was crucified a man, makes Him a man instead of God" (Apollinaris, On the Faith of the Incarnation, 9). In short, Apollinaris' view was that Christ was a body of flesh formed and animated by a nous (spirit and intellect), but that the nous was not human, but rather divine. What Apollinaris means by nous is "person."

In saying this Dr. Svendsen is ignoring Ephesus. But fear not reader for we will cover Ephesus.

This view of Apollinaris was directly opposed by Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus and Athanasius, was rejected by the Western church in 377 A.D., by the Eastern church a decade later, and was eventually condemned at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D. All of these reasoned that a person who lacks a human nous (spirit and intellect) cannot truly be a man. And if Jesus is not truly a man, but merely God with a "human" nature, then He does not qualify to atone for our sins. The substitutionary atonement requires that Jesus is fully man--flesh, intellect and spirit--not simply God in a "human flesh" suit (or the inadequate phrase, "God cloaked in human flesh"). It is not "human flesh" that mediates for us before God, but "the man, Christ Jesus" (1 Tim 2:5). Atonement is possible only if a man with a human soul and intellect, through perfect obedience to God, can reverse the sin brought into the world by the man who, using his human soul and spirit (i.e., Adam), rebelled against God. Otherwise, while Jesus may well have redeemed our fleshly bodies, He has done absolutely nothing to redeem our souls (i.e., our persons). It is not mere flesh that defines us as human beings. One day our human flesh will undergo a transformation since "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor 15:50-54); yet we will not thereby cease to be human. True humanity is therefore much more than material human flesh; it also includes the immaterial (i.e., soul, intellect, spirit, etc.).


And again, this is the very same rationale that Ephesus used in safeguarding the Incarnation which Nestorianism undermines. After all, if Mary did not give birth to God Incarnate, then the Passion was ineffective also. No man can atone by himself for the sin of Adam. Only God can. Therefore, if Jesus was not God and man hypostatically united into one person, he could not have redeemed the human race at all.

The View of the Bible and the Early Church

We know biblically that Jesus had a human nous. Luke tells us that "Jesus grew in wisdom" (Luke 2:52); that Jesus did not know the precise day and hour of his return (Matt 24:36); that Jesus is a man (not simply human, 1 Tim 2:5); that Jesus was "tempted in every way just as we are" (Heb 4:15); and that Jesus was "made like His brethren in every way" in order to "make propitiation for the sins of the people" (Heb 2:17). We also know biblically that Jesus had a divine nous. He is the pre-incarnate Word, who is God (John 1:1); He "knows all things" (Jn 21:17); He is omnipresent (Matt 28:20); and "all the fullness of deity dwells in Him" (Col 2:9).

It is always interesting when Evangelicals arrogantly rattle these things off as if they are "obvious". After all, with hindsight a lot of things are "obvious". (In reality everyone from the Arian to the Nestorian to the Monophysite to the Appollinarian to the Gnostic and countless others can "justify" their beliefs from the same Scriptures.) These points that Dr. Svendsen thinks are "obvious" were hashed out over many centuries of prayer and reflection as well as the scourge of heretics who interpreted the Scriptures apart from the sensus fidelis.

Both the human nous and the divine nous are bound together in Christ and comprise His person. It is not the case, as Apollinaris believed, that Christ is a divine person with a human nature. Many of the early fathers renounced Apollinarianism (as well as Monophysitism) by speaking in terms of the distinction between Jesus' humanity and His divinity, insisting time and again that what applies to His humanity does not apply to His divinity, and vice versa. The Council of Chalcedon says this:

"So, following the saintly fathers, we all with one voice teach the confession of one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, of a rational soul and a body; consubstantial with the Father as regards his divinity, and the same consubstantial with us as regards his humanity; like us in all respects except for sin; begotten before the ages from the Father as regards his divinity, and in the last days the same for us and for our salvation from Mary, the virgin God-bearer as regards his humanity; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only-begotten, acknowledged in two natures which undergo no confusion, no change, no division, no separation; at no point was the difference between the natures taken away through the union, but rather the property of both natures is preserved and comes together into a single person and a single subsistent being; he is not parted or divided into two persons, but is one and the same only-begotten Son"

According to the framers of the council, Jesus is born of Mary "as regards His humanity," and born of God "as regards His divinity." These differing "births," the council insists, should not be "confused," since "at no point was the difference between the natures taken away through the union." Both natures comprise one person--not a divine person or a human person, but one person with a divine nature and a human nature.

What else did Chalcedon say??? In the section preceding what Dr. Svendsen quoted it affirmed the following:

We have driven off erroneous doctrines by our collective resolution and we have renewed the unerring creed of the fathers. We have proclaimed to all the creed of the 318; and we have made our own those fathers who accepted this agreed statement of religion -- the 150 who later met in great Constantinople and themselves set their seal to the same creed.
Therefore, whilst we also stand by the decisions and all the formulas relating to the creed from the sacred synod which took place formerly at Ephesus, whose leaders of most holy memory were Celestine of Rome and Cyril of Alexandria, we decree that we decree that pre-eminence belongs to the exposition of the right and spotless creed of the 318 saintly and blessed fathers who were assembled at Nicaea when Constantine of pious memory was emperor: and that those decrees also remain in force which were issued in Constantinople by the 150 holy fathers in order to destroy the heresies then rife and to confirm this same catholic and apostolic creed.
The creed of the 318 fathers at Nicaea. And the same of the 150 saintly fathers assembled in Constantinople.
This wise and saving creed, the gift of divine grace, was sufficient for a perfect understanding and establishment of religion. For its teaching about the Father and the Son and the holy Spirit is complete, and it sets out the Lord's becoming human to those who faithfully accept it.
But there are those who are trying to ruin the proclamation of the truth, and through their private heresies they have spawned novel formulas:
some by daring to corrupt the mystery of the Lord's economy on our behalf, and refusing to apply the word "God-bearer" to the Virgin; and others by introducing a confusion and mixture, and mindlessly imagining that there is a single nature of the flesh and the divinity, and fantastically supposing that in the confusion the divine nature of the Only-begotten is passible.
Therefore this sacred and great and universal synod, now in session, in its desire to exclude all their tricks against the truth, and teaching what has been unshakeable in the proclamation from the beginning, decrees that the creed of the 318 fathers is, above all else, to remain inviolate. And because of those who oppose the holy Spirit, it ratifies the teaching about the being of the holy Spirit handed down by the 150 saintly fathers who met some time later in the imperial city-- the teaching they made known to all, not introducing anything left out by their predecessors, but clarifying their ideas about the holy Spirit by the use of scriptural testimonies against those who were trying to do away with his sovereignty.
And because of those who are attempting to corrupt the mystery of the economy and are shamelessly and foolishly asserting that he who was born of the holy virgin Mary was a mere man, it has accepted the synodical letters of the blessed Cyril, [already accepted by the Council of Ephesus] pastor of the church in Alexandria, to Nestorius and to the Orientals, as being well-suited to refuting Nestorius's mad folly and to providing an interpretation for those who in their religious zeal might desire understanding of the saving creed.
To these it has suitably added, against false believers and for the establishment of orthodox doctrines the letter of the primate of greatest and older Rome, the most blessed and most saintly Archbishop Leo, written to the sainted Archbishop Flavian to put down Eutyches's evil-mindedness, because it is in agreement with great Peter's confession and represents a support we have in common.
It is opposed to those who attempt to tear apart the mystery of the economy into a duality of sons; and  it expels from the assembly of the priests those who dare to say that the divinity of the Only-begotten is passible, and it stands opposed to those who imagine a mixture or confusion between the two natures of Christ; and it expels those who have the mad idea that the servant-form he took from us is of a heavenly or some other kind of being; and it anathematises those who concoct two natures of the Lord before the union but imagine a single one after the union.
So, following the saintly Fathers, we all with one voice teach the confession of one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, of a rational soul and a body; consubstantial with the Father as regards his divinity, and the same consubstantial with us as regards his humanity; like us in all respects except for sin; begotten before the ages from the Father as regards his divinity, and in the last days the same for us and for our salvation from Mary, the virgin God-bearer as regards his humanity; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only-begotten, acknowledged in two natures which undergo no confusion, no change, no division, no separation; at no point was the difference between the natures taken away through the union, but rather the property of both natures is preserved and comes together into a single person and a single subsistent being; he is not parted or divided into two persons, but is one and the same only-begotten Son, God, Word, Lord Jesus Christ, just as the prophets taught from the beginning about him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ himself instructed us, and as the creed of the fathers handed it down to us. [6]
It seems to this writer that Dr. Svendsen was not concerned with pointing out all of the evidences. After all, Chalcedon before teaching what Dr. Svendsen cited proceeded to reaffirm the judgment of Ephesus that Dr. Svendsen rejects. Not only did they reject his position but they referred to it as a position of "those who are trying to ruin the proclamation of the truth, and through their private heresies they have spawned novel formulas" (Chalcedon: Definition of Faith).

The Monophysite Roman Catholic e-pologists

After condemning the supposed teachings of Nestorius (albeit only a misunderstanding of them, for which see my book, Evangelical Answers),

Oh of course. The contemporaries who knew Nestorius (Pope Celestine I, St. Cyril of Alexandria, etc.) did not really know what Nestorius taught. No they did not have the services of Dr. Svendsen who lived 1500 years later. Unlike them, Dr. Svendsen who never met Nestorius or conversed with him actually knew what Nestorius actually taught. This arrogance is astounding!!!

the council affirms its stance against the Monophysite heresy:

How does Dr. Svendsen know that Chalcedon did not "misunderstand" the theology of the Monophysites??? After all, if they (according to him) misunderstood the theology of Nestorius, then they could logically have misunderstood the theology of Eutychius and his followers also. Dr. Svendsen's arbitrary approach falls apart when the balm of consistency is applied to it.

"[Monophysites pervert the faith] by introducing a confusion and mixture, and mindlessly imagining that there is a single nature of the flesh and the divinity, and fantastically supposing that in the confusion the divine nature of the Only-begotten is passible. . . . [The Church] opposes those who attempt to tear apart the mystery of the economy into a duality of sons; and it expels from the assembly of the priests those who dare to say that the divinity of the Only-begotten is passible, and it stands opposed to those who imagine a mixture or confusion between the two natures of Christ."

The council expressly condemns the view that the divine nature is passible (i.e., the Monophysite belief that "God can die, and in fact did die"). Yet this view is currently being defended by modern Roman Catholic Monophysites as a necessary consequence to the notion that God can be born, a premise implicit in the title "Mother of God" (see http://www.cathinsight.com/apologetics/david.htm for an example of this).

Dr. Svendsen again does not get it. Chalcedon in formulating its decrees reaffirmed Ephesus which specifically stated the following:

11. If anyone does not confess that the flesh of the Lord is life-giving and belongs to the Word from God the Father, but maintains that it belongs to another besides him, united with him in dignity or as enjoying a mere divine indwelling, and is not rather life-giving, as we said, since it became the flesh belonging to the Word who has power to bring all things to life, let him be anathema.
12. If anyone does not confess that the Word of God suffered in the flesh and was crucified in the flesh and tasted death in the flesh and became the first born of the dead, although as God he is life and life-giving, let him be anathema. [7]

The Word of God did not possess a human and a divine person but was instead possessing of both a human and divine natures hypostatically united in one person. The error of the Monophysites was in presuming that the humanity of Jesus was not identical to ours excluding sin. This writer is unaware of any of the people Dr. Svendsen is criticizing who affirms this, either explicitly or tacitly.

Augustine states the following about the relationship of Jesus' humanity to His divinity:

"Since, then, Christ is God and man . . . we must take account of both these natures in Him when He speaks or when Scripture speaks of Him, and we must mark in what sense anything is said. When we say that Christ is the Son of God we do not separate His humanity from Him, nor when we say that the same Christ is the Son of man do we lose sight of His divinity. For, as man He was on earth, not in heaven where He now is . . . although in His nature as Son of God He was in heaven, but as Son of man He was still on earth and had not yet ascended into heaven. . . . and He will so come, on the testimony of the angel's voice, as He was seen going into heaven, that is, in the same form and substance of flesh to which, it is true, He gave immortality, but He did not take away its nature. According to this form, we are not to think that He is everywhere present. We must beware of so building up the divinity of the man that we destroy the reality of His body. It does not follow that what is in God is in Him so as to be everywhere as God is. . . . God and man in Him are one Person, and both are the one Jesus Christ who is everywhere as God, but in heaven as man" (Augustine, Letter 118.8-10).

Augustine here denies that the attributes that belong to Christ's humanity can legitimately be applied to His divinity, and vice versa.

If "God and man are in Him are one person who is everywhere as God" than Dr. Svendsen should not have a problem with the decrees of Ephesus that Mary is the Mother of God. This passage has nothing to do with the Theotokos. It would be interesting to see the actual source since there are enough ellipses here to easily obfuscate what the subject being discussed actually was. Dr. Svendsenís penchant for seemingly deliberate deception will be pointed out later in this essay.

Specifically in regard to Jesus' relationship to His mother (which is right on topic), Augustine tells us:

"At that time, therefore, when about to engage in divine acts, He repelled, as one unknown, her who was the mother, not of His divinity, but of His [human] infirmity" (Tract. in Ioannem CXIX, 1).

Since Dr. Svendsen is not interested in telling the truth, we will quote the entire section of the tract he prooftexts:

At that time, therefore, when about to engage in divine acts, He repelled, as one unknown, her who was the mother, not of His divinity, but of His [human] infirmity; but now, when in the midst of human sufferings, He commended with human affection [the mother] by whom He had become man. For then, He who had created Mary became known in His power; but now, that which Mary had brought forth was hanging on the cross.
2. A passage, therefore, of a moral character is here inserted. The good Teacher does what He thereby reminds us ought to be done, and by His own example instructed His disciples that care for their parents ought to be a matter of concern to pious children: as if that tree to which the members of the dying One were affixed were the very chair of office from which the Master was imparting instruction. From this wholesome doctrine it was that the Apostle Paul had learned what he taught in turn, when he said, "But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." And what are so much home concerns to any one, as parents to children, or children to parents? Of this most wholesome precept, therefore, the very Master of the saints set the example from Himself, when, not as God for the hand-maid whom He had created and governed, but as a man for the mother, of whom He had been created, and whom He was now leaving behind, He provided in some measure another son in place of Himself. [8]
Just a short note before continuing this citation. Where on earth while this was going on were the "brothers of the Lord???" Were they infidels for not being there??? Or were they perhaps not uterine siblings at all but more distant relatives??? It would be superfluous for Jesus to provide Mary with another son in place of Him if Mary had other sons as Dr. Svendsen claims. Such would not be a necessity yet Jesus seems to treat the entrustment as a necessity. Since God does nothing by accident, this action seems rather strange if what Dr. Svendsen asserts is actually correct. (Whereas if Mary had no other children this kind of entrustment makes perfect sense.)
And why He did so, He indicates in the words that follow: for the evangelist says, "And from that hour the disciple took her unto his own," speaking of himself. In this way, indeed, he usually refers to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved: who certainly loved them all, but him beyond the others, and with a closer familiarity, so that He even made him lean upon His bosom at supper; in order, I believe, in this way to commend the more highly the divine excellence of this very gospel, which He was thereafter to preach through his instrumentality.
3. But what was this "his own," unto which John took the mother of the Lord? For he was not outside the circle of those who said unto Him, "Lo, we have left all, and followed Thee." No, but on that same occasion he had also heard the words, Every one that hath forsaken these things for my sake, shall receive an hundred times as much in this world. That disciple, therefore, had an hundredfold more than he had cast away, whereunto to receive the mother of Him who had graciously bestowed it all. But it was in that society that the blessed John had received an hundredfold, where no one called anything his own, but they had all things in common; even as it is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. For the apostles were as if having nothing, and yet possessing all things How was it, then, that the disciple and servant received unto his own the mother of his Lord and Master, where no one called anything his own?" [9]
The "mother of his Lord???" But the Lord is supposed to be God. Apparently not if Mary was His mother according to Dr. Svendsenís "logic".

Augustine shares the same sentiment elsewhere as well:

It should be clear that far from denying that Mary was the Mother of God that Augustine affirmed it. If it is not yet then it will be before this essay is finished.

"It was as if [Jesus] said [in John 2], ĎYou did not give birth to my power of working miracles, it was not you who gave birth to my divinity. But you are the mother of all that is weak in me" (Tract. in Ioannem VII, 9.)

Some context is needed to put this sliver into a means of being better understood. First of all, this is not Tractate VII but Tractate VIII. Here is more of the passage for context:

9. Why, then, said the Son to the mother, "Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come?" Our Lord Jesus Christ was both God and Man. According as He was God, He had not a mother; according as He was man, He had. She was the mother, then, of His flesh, of His humanity, of the weakness which for our sakes He took upon Him. But the miracle which He was about to do, He was about to do according to His divine nature, not according to His weakness; according to that wherein He was God not according to that wherein He was born weak. But the weakness of God is stronger than men. His mother then demanded a miracle of Him; but He, about to perform divine works, so far did not recognize a human womb; saying in effect, "That in me which works a miracle was not born OF thee, thou gavest not birth TO my divine nature; but because my weakness was born of thee, I will recognize thee at the time when that same weakness shall hang upon the cross. [10]
Clearly, Augustine made a distinction between the relation Mary enjoyed with Jesusí humanity, and that which she enjoyed with Jesusí divinity.

Yes he did. He clearly said "That in me which works a miracle was not born OF thee, thou gavest not birth TO my divine nature." In other words, Augustine was saying that Jesusí divine nature did not ORIGINATE with Mary giving birth to Him. Jesus confirmed this when he told the Pharisees in John 8:58 that "before Abraham came to be I am". Obviously Mary did not predate Abraham; ergo Our Lordís divinity predated Mary. But then no one has claimed otherwise and this is hardly the "blow against the Theotokos" that Dr. Svendsen seems to think it is.

Augustine goes on to explain what he means in the very next chapter of his work:

Why, then, said the Son to the mother, "Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come?" Our Lord Jesus Christ was both God and man. According as He was God, He had not a mother; according as He was man, He had. She was the mother, then, of His flesh, of His humanity, of the weakness which for our sakes He took upon Him. But the miracle which He was about to do, He was about to do according to His divine nature, not according to His weakness; according to that wherein He was God not according to that wherein He was born weak. But the weakness of God is stronger than men. His mother then demanded a miracle of Him; but He, about to perform divine works, so far did not recognize a human womb; saying in effect, "That in me which works a miracle was not born of thee, thou gavest not birth to my divine nature; but because my weakness was born of thee, I will recognize thee at the time when that same weakness shall hang upon the cross." This, indeed, is the meaning of "Mine hour is not yet come." . . . How then was He both Davidís son and Davidís Lord? Davidís son according to the flesh, Davidís Lord according to His divinity; so also Maryís son after the flesh, and Maryís Lord after His majesty. Now as she was not the mother of His divine nature, whilst it was by His divinity the miracle she asked for would be wrought, therefore He answered her, "Woman, what have I to do with thee?" (Tract. In Ioannem VIII, 9).

Well at least this time he got the citation correct. Nevertheless, Dr. Svendsen did not point out what heresy Augustine was addressing in that tract. Let us add some to the citation from the tract and bold print the rather large chunk that was "conveniently" edited out of it:

9. Why, then, said the Son to the mother, "Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come?" Our Lord Jesus Christ was both God and man. According as He was God, He had not a mother; according as He was man, He had. She was the mother, then, of His flesh, of His humanity, of the weakness which for our sakes He took upon Him. But the miracle which He was about to do, He was about to do according to His divine nature, not according to His weakness; according to that wherein He was God not according to that wherein He was born weak. But the weakness of God is stronger than men. His mother then demanded a miracle of Him; but He, about to perform divine works, so far did not recognize a human womb; saying in effect, "That in me which works a miracle was not born of thee, thou gavest not birth to my divine nature; but because my weakness was born of thee, I will recognize thee at the time when that same weakness shall hang upon the cross." This, indeed, is the meaning of "Mine hour is not yet come." For then it was that He recognized, who, in truth, always did know. He knew His mother in predestination, even before He was born of her; even before, as God, He created her of whom, as man, He was to be created, He knew her as His mother: but at a certain hour in a mystery He did not recognize her; and at a certain hour which had not yet come, again in a mystery, He does recognize her. For then did He recognize her, when that to which she gave birth was a-dying. THAT BY WHICH MARY WAS MADE DID NOT DIE, but that WHICH WAS MADE OF MARY; not the eternity of the divine nature, but the weakness of the flesh, was dying. He made that answer therefore, making a distinction in the faith of believers, between the who; and the how, He came.
For while He was God and the Lord of heaven and earth, He came by a mother who was a woman. In that He was Lord of the world, Lord of heaven and earth, He was, of course, the Lord of Mary also; but in that wherein it is said, "Made of a woman, made under the law," He was Mary's son. The same both the Lord of Mary and the son of Mary; the same both the Creator of Mary and created from Mary. Marvel not that He was both son and Lord. For just as He is called the son of Mary, so likewise is He called the son of David; and son of David because son of Mary. Hear the apostle openly declaring, "Who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh." Hear Him also declared the Lord of David; let David himself declare this: "The Lord said to my Lord, Sit Thou on my right hand." And this passage Jesus Himself brought forward to the Jews, and refuted them from it. How then was He both David's son and David's Lord? David's son according to the flesh, David's Lord according to His divinity; so also Mary's son after the flesh, and Mary's Lord after His majesty. Now as she was not the mother of His divine NATURE, whilst it was by His divinity the miracle she asked for would be wrought, therefore He answered her, "Woman, what have I to do with thee?" But think not that I deny thee to be my mother: ĎMine hour is not yet come;í for in that hour I will acknowledge thee, when the weakness of which thou art the mother comes to hang on the cross, Let us prove the truth of this. When the Lord suffered, the same evangelist tells us, who knew the mother of the Lord, and who has given us to know about her in this marriage feast,--the same, I say, tells us, "There was there near the cross the mother of Jesus; and Jesus saith to His mother, Woman, behold thy son! and to the disciple, Behold thy mother!" He commends His mother to the care of the disciple; commends His mother, as about to die before her, and to rise again before her death. The man commends her a human being to man's care. This humanity had Mary given birth to. That hour had now come, the hour of which He had then said, "Mine hour is not yet come.†[11]
As (i) the Lord is God and (ii) Mary was called by Augustine "mother of the Lord", hence (iii) Mary is the Mother of God. Augustine clearly notes this in one of the sections cleverly snipped away by Dr. Svendsen that renders his interpretation unviable. Here it is again:
That by which Mary was made did not die, but that which was made of Mary; not the eternity of the divine nature, but the weakness of the flesh, was dying. [12]
In other words, the eternity of the divine nature was not dying. Ephesus said the following about the term Theotokos:
We confess, then, our lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God perfect God and perfect man of a rational soul and a body, begotten before all ages from the Father in his godhead, the same in the last days, for us and for our salvation, born of Mary the virgin, according to his humanity, one and the same consubstantial with the Father in godhead and consubstantial with us in humanity, for a union of two natures took place. Therefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this understanding of the unconfused union, we confess the holy virgin to be the mother of God because God the Word took flesh and became man and from his very conception united to himself the temple he took from her. [13]
And written within one year of Augustineís death St. Cyril of Alexandriaís first letter to Nestorius of Constantinople was approved by Ephesus including the following passage:
This is the account of the true faith everywhere professed. So shall we find that the holy fathers believed. So have they dared to call the holy virgin, mother of God, not as though the nature of the Word or his godhead received the origin of their being from the holy virgin, but because there was born from her his holy body rationally ensouled, with which the Word was hypostatically united and is said to have been begotten in the flesh. These things I write out of love in Christ exhorting you as a brother and calling upon you before Christ and the elect angels, to hold and teach these things with us, in order to preserve the peace of the churches and that the priests of God may remain in an unbroken bond of concord and love [14]
It is not difficult to demonstrate that the Fathers of the Church professed that Mary was the Mother of God or "God-bearer". We have no reason to presume that St. Augustine of Hippo would deny the Theotokos when his contemporaries and generations before him affirmed it. Indeed this assertion, not infrequently made, remains to be adequately and consistently demonstrated by those who would side with ancient heresies and despise the Apostolic Faith. Among the Fathers who professed that Mary was the Mother of God (or "God-bearer") include St. Vincent of Lerens, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Pope Celestine I, St. Jerome, St. John Cassian, Theodore of Mopsuestia, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, and Augustineís mentor St. Ambrose. If we look at the period preceding St. Augustine we would find a number of notables including St. Athanasius the Great, St. Basil the Great, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Epiphanis of Salamis, St. Ephraim of Syria, St. Alexander of Alexandria, St. Methodius, St. Gregory the Wonderworker, Origen, and St. Hippolytus. Combining this with the witness of the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus, it would seem to stretch credulity to presume that the Bishop of Hippo could be so far afield of his contemporaries in this area ó especially considering how much devotion St. Augustine of Hippo expressed for the Mother of God.

Indeed it is more appropriate to presume in silence that there was no objections by Augustine to this title, especially since he had for all purposes expressed its essence in other ways. (Such as referring to Mary as the "Mother of the Lord".) Nevertheless, it is quite clear either way from Augustineís words that he did not deny Theotokos as Ephesus affirmed it and as the Catholic "e-pologists" with whom Dr. Svendsen got his skivvies all bunched up in knots. But then maybe additional context can help in establishing the sitz im leben. What was one of the heresies that Augustine was speaking against in the passage cited by Dr. Svendsen to buttress his position that Augustine denied the Theotokos principle to Mary??? The very paragraph before the one Dr. Svendsen quoted demonstrates the degree to which the Bishop of Hippo has been misrepresented:

And first take care, lest perhaps, as the Manichaeeans found occasion for their falsehood, because the Lord said, "Woman, what have I to do with thee?" the astrologers in like manner may find occasion for their deception, in that He said, " Mine hour is not yet come." If it was in the sense of the astrologers He said this, we have committed a sacrilege in burning their books. But if we have acted rightly, as was done in the times of the apostles, it was not according to their notion that the Lord said, "Mine hour is not yet come." For, say those vain-talkers and deceived seducers, thou seest that Christ was under fate, as He says, "Mine hour is not yet come." To whom then must we make answer first--to the heretics or to the astrologers? For both come of the serpent, and desire to corrupt the Church's virginity of heart, which she holds in undefiled faith. Let us first reply to those whom we proposed, to whom, indeed, we have already replied in great measure. But lest they should think that we have not what to say of the words which the Lord uttered in answer to His mother, we prepare you further against them; for I suppose what has already been said is sufficient for their refutation.
9. Why, then, said the Son to the mother, etcÖ[15]
Indeed it is clear that Dr. Svendsen has engaged in some "spiritual malpractice" with regards to his treatment of St. Augustine of Hippo. St. Augustine, in the passages Dr. Svendsen prooftexted, was addressing the Manicheeans and the astrologers. What did the Manicheeans believe??? There seems to be a parallel between our good doctor and the Manichaeans. To quote the Catholic Encyclopedia on Manichaeaism:†
The key to Mani's system is his cosmogony. Once this is known there is little else to learn. In this sense Mani was a true Gnostic, as he brought salvation by knowledge. Manichæism professed to be a religion of pure reason as opposed to Christian credulity; it professed to explain the origin, the composition, and the future of the universe; it had an answer for everything and despised Christianity, which was full of mysteries. It was utterly unconscious that its every answer was a mystification or a whimsical invention; in fact, it gained mastery over men's minds by the astonishing completeness, minuteness, and consistency of its assertions. [16]
This sounds very much akin to the doctor who has the arrogance to overthrow General Councils and oppose himself to all of antiquity on doctrines. Now then, why was Augustine so intent upon emphasizing the humanity of Jesus of Nazareth??? Very simple, the theology of Mani which was Docetic in nature:
The historical Jesus of Nazareth was entirely repudiated by Mani. "The son of a poor widow" (Mary),"the Jewish Messias whom the Jews crucified", "a devil who was justly punished for interfering in the work of the Aeon Jesus", such was, according to Mani, the Christ whom Christians worshipped as God. Mani's Christology was purely Docetic, his Christ appeared to be man, to live, suffer, and die to symbolize the light suffering in this world. Though Mani used the term "Evangel" for his message, his Evangel was clearly in no real sense that of the Christians. [17]
According to Augustine, Mary could not have been the "Mother of God," since Jesus in His divinity had no mother.

We have revealed the context which refutes this erroneous interpretation of Augustineís views on the matter. And if Dr. Svendsen bothered to read up on Ephesus and the writings of the Fathers on Theotokos, he would know that the sense in which Theotokos is understood is not what he is claiming. But it is easier to piece together a bunch of prooftexts rather than address these issues in depth. That is why Dr. Svendsen prefers the former to the latter.

He insists over and over again in this passage that Mary was the mother of Jesus humanity only.

This is wholly unwarranted since the Bishop of Hippoís intent in those passages was to vindicate the humanity of Jesus from the Docetic Manachaeans who claimed he was a phantom. Since Augustine was not addressing the issue of Theotokos, Dr. Svendsen is guilty of context-switching. As has been shown already (and will continue to be shown), this is not the least of his prevarications.

It was not the visible sun that made this day [Christmas] holy for us, but the sunís invisible Creator, when the Virgin Mother brought to light, out of her fruitful womb and virginal body, the Creator made visible for us, the same invisible God who also created the Virgin. [18]
Augustine did not deny the doctrine of the Theotokos. Oh and what else did Augustine teach about the Mother of God???:
Thus Christ, in being born of a Virgin, who before knowing to whom she was to give birth had made up her mind to remain a virgin...  [19]
He also affirmed the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. Why is this brought up at this time??? Because, gentle reader, it is another area where the esteemed Dr. Svendsen has no shortage of arrogance. Not only does he misrepresent the views of St. Augustine and St. Gregory the Great (the latter will be tended to shortly) but he is very selective in what he cites. Dr. Svendsen is guilty of a flagrant abuse of Augustine. With regards to the Theotokos, the words of St. John Cassian written shortly before Ephesus and during the lifetime of Augustine of Hippo summed it up quite tersely:
And so you say, O heretic, whoever you may be, who deny that God was born of the Virgin, that Mary the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ ought not to be called Theotocos, i.e., Mother of God, but Christotocos, i.e., only the Mother of Christ, not of God. For no one, you say, brings forth what is anterior in time. And of this utterly foolish argument whereby you think that the birth of God can be understood by carnal minds, and fancy that the mystery of His Majesty can be accounted for by human reasoning, we will, if God permits, say something later on. In the meantime we will no prove by Divine testimonies that Christ is God, and that Mary is the Mother of God. Hear then how the angel of God speaks to the Shepherds of the birth of God. "There is born," he says, "to you this day in the city of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord."(5) In order that you may not take Christ for a mere man, he adds the name of Lord and Saviour, on purpose that you may have no doubt that He whom you acknowledge as Saviour is God, and that (as the office of saving belongs only to Divine power) you may not question that He is of Divine power, in whom you have learnt that the power to save resides. But perhaps this is not enough to convince your unbelief, as the angel of the Lord termed Him Lord and Saviour rather than God or the Son of God, as you certainly most wickedly deny Him to be God, whom you acknowledge to be Saviour. Hear then what the archangel Gabriel announces to the Virgin Mary. "The Holy Ghost," he says, "shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."(6) Do you see how, when he is going to point out the nativity of God, he first speaks of a work of Divinity. For "the Holy Ghost," he says, "shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee." Admirably did the angel speak, and explain the majesty of the Divine work by the Divine character of his words. For the Holy Ghost sanctified the Virgin's womb, and breathed into it by the power of His Divinity, and thus imparted and communicated Himself to human nature; and made His own what was before foreign to Him, taking it to Himself by His own power and majesty.(7)
And lest the weakness of human nature should not be able to bear the entrance of Divinity the power of the Most High strengthened the ever to be honoured Virgin, so that it supported her bodily weakness by embracing it with overshadowing protection, and human weakness was not insufficient for the consummation of the ineffable mystery of the holy conception, since it was supported by the Divine overshadowing. "Therefore," he says, "the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee." If only a mere man was to be born of a pure virgin why should there be such careful mention of the Divine Advent? Why such intervention of Divinity itself? Certainly if only a man was to be born from man, and flesh from flesh, a command alone might have done it, or the Divine will. For if the will of God alone, and His command sufficed to fashion the heavens, form the earth, create the sea, thrones, and seats, and angels, and archangels, and principalities, and powers, and in a word to create all the armies of heaven, and those countless thousands of thousands of the Divine hosts ("For He spake and they were made, He commanded and they were created"(1)), why was it that that was insufficient for the creation of (according to you) a single man, which was sufficient for the production of all things divine, and that the power and majesty of God did not entrust that with the birth of a single infant, which had availed to fashion all things earthly and heavenly? But certainly the reason why all those works were performed by the command of God, but the nativity was only accomplished by His coming was because God could not be conceived by man unless He allowed it, nor be born unless He Himself entered in; and therefore the archangel pointed out that the sacred majesty would come upon the Virgin, I mean that as so great an event could not be brought about by human appointment, he announced that there would be present at the conception the glory of Him who was to be born.(2)
And so the Word, the Son, descended: the majesty of the Holy Ghost was present: the power of the Father was overshadowing; that in the mystery of the holy conception the whole Trinity might cooperate. "Therefore," he says, "also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." Admirably does he add "Therefore," in order to show that this would therefore follow because that had gone before; and that because God had come upon her at the conception therefore God would be present at the birth. And when the maiden understood not, he gave a reason for this great thing, saying: "Because the Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and because the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee, therefore also that holy thing which shall be born shall be called the Son of God;" that is to say: That thou mayest not be ignorant of the provision for so great a work, and the mystery of this great secret, the majesty of God shall therefore come upon thee completely; because the Son of God shall be born of thee. What further doubt can there be about this? or what is there further to be said? He said that God would come upon her; that the Son of God would be born. Ask now, if you like, how the Son of God can help being God, or how she who brought forth God can fail to be Theotocos, i.e., the Mother of God? This alone ought to be enough for you; aye this ought to be amply sufficient for you. [20]
The teaching of Ephesus - of which Dr. Svendsen does not comprehend - and the rebuke of St. John Cassian apply to Dr. Svendsen in spades. After all, it is patently obvious that the good doctor is engaging in an "utterly foolish argument whereby [he] think[s] that the birth of God can be understood by carnal minds, and fancy that the mystery of His Majesty can be accounted for by human reasoning" (ibid). A heretical proposition in 429 AD is a heretical proposition in 2001. All that is needed is willful vacillation of doubt or acceptance of the heretical proposition. Dr. Svendsenís heretical ramblings would incur the anathemas of the Fathers of Ephesus as well as the Fathers of Chalcedon. Of this there is no doubt whatsoever!!!

It is interesting to point out that before Ephesus St. John Cassian - a contemporary of St. Augustine - was calling those who claim what Dr. Svendsen claims heretics. Obviously if St. John Cassian has in saying this impugned St. Augustine of Hippo, then the polemical types among our Orthodox brethren would wave that citation in the face of Catholics consistently as they are not too fond of Augustine. This author knows from experience that any attempt to claim that Augustine was less than fully orthodox is one which the really polemical Orthodox "trads" would wield that citation like a double-edged sword. They do this in claiming that Augustine was a Semi-Pelagian against the claims of some misinformed Catholics who claim that John Cassian was. Well St. John Cassian just anathematized anyone who did not subscribe to the Theotokos as a heretic. If St. Augustine denied this teaching, where is St. Cassian (or any Father who supported Ephesus) denouncing St. Augustine of Hippo as a heretic??? Where is it??? It is nowhere to be found. Ergo, Dr. Svendsenís attempts to pit St. Augustine of Hippo against Ephesus and the Theotokos are only supportable by a recourse to argumentum silencium: hardly a convincing argument in the absence of tangible proofs.

Here is the decree of Ephesus again (take III) on why the term Mother of God is used and the proper sense in which it is understood:

We confess, then, our lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God perfect God and perfect man of a rational soul and a body, begotten before all ages from the Father in his godhead, the same in the last days, for us and for our salvation, born of Mary the virgin, according to his humanity, one and the same consubstantial with the Father in godhead and consubstantial with us in humanity, for a union of two natures took place.
Therefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this understanding of the unconfused union, we confess the holy virgin to be the mother of God because God the Word took flesh and became man and from his very conception united to himself the temple he took from her. [21]
Having vindicated St. Augustine of Hippo from the erroneous snares of Dr. Svendsen, let us now turn our attention to his abuse of St. Pope Gregory the Great.

Similarly, Gregory the Great, commenting on John 2 and 19 states:

"As if to say plainly, That I can do a miracle comes to me from my Father, not from my mother. For he who from the nature of his Father did miracles, had it from his mother that he could die" (Epist. 41).

Dr. Svendsen is guilty of more spiritual malpractice. What did Gregory really believe???

Besides, since with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation, I confess that I receive and revere, as the four books of the Gospel so Arius is overthrown; the Constantinopolitan also, in which the error of Eunomius and Macedonius is refuted; further, the first Ephesine, in which the impiety of Nestorius is condemned; and the Chalcedonian, in which the pravity of Eutyches and Dioscorus is reprobated. These with full devotion I embrace, and adhere to with most entire approval; since on them, as on a four-square stone, rises the structure of the holy faith; and whosoever, of whatever life and behaviour he may be, holds not fast to their solidity, even though he is seen to be a stone, yet he lies outside the building. The fifth council also I equally venerate, in which the epistle which is called that of Ibas, full of error, is reprobated; Theodorus, who divides the Mediator between God and men into two subsistences, is convicted of having fallen into the perfidy of impiety; and the writings of Theodoritus, in which the faith of the blessed Cyril is impugned, are refuted as having been published with the daring of madness. But all persons whom the aforesaid venerable Councils repudiate I repudiate; those whom they venerate I embrace; since, they having been constituted by universal consent, he overthrows not them but himself, whosoever presumes either to loose those whom they bind, or to bind those whom they loose. Whosoever, therefore, thinks otherwise, let him be anathema. [22]
What else did Gregory the Great say???:
The most blessed and ever-virgin Mary, Mother of God, can be called by this name, "mountain". Yes, she was a mountain who by the dignity of her election has completely surpassed the height of every elect creature.
Is Mary not the lofty mountain? For God to achieve the conception of the eternal Word, raised the summit of her merits above the choir of angels, up to the threshold of the Godhead. [23]
Yes it is clear that Pope Gregory the Great was hardly a Proto-Protestant in any sense, including on the doctrines of Theotokos and on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary: two burrs in Dr. Svendsen's saddle. Thus, no more needs to be said here to vindicate St. Gregory the Great from the impious false witness to his views as espoused by Dr. Svendsen (see Ex. 20:16; Deut. 5:20).

Both Gregory and Augustine share the view we have posited above for the distinction between Maryís relationship to Jesus in his humanity and the same to Jesus in his divinity.

No, neither Gregory nor Augustine shared the view propounded by Dr. Svendsen.

There can be no objection, then, from the Roman Catholic who dismisses this view as ahistorical.

To quote the secular historian Sir Nicholas Cheetham in the matter:

The first round of the Christological controversy was decided in favour of Cyril at the third ecumenical Council, which took place at Ephesus in 431, but the strong resentments it aroused were never to be appeased. Against Cyrilís doctrine of the perfect union of the divine and the human in Christ, Nestorius maintained that they were essentially separate, and that the divine element had been, as it were, superimposed on the human. It followed from his view that Mary was not the Mother of God but only of the man Jesus, a conclusion that profoundly offended ordinary Christians in the West and many in the East as well. [24]
It is not an ahistorical viewpoint because after all, Nestorius held it one thousand six hundred and seventy years ago. And the Council of Ephesus at the time rightly anathematized this pernicious error.

It is based not only on better logic than the "mother of God" formula,

Hopefully the reader can see the Manichaean tendency of Dr. Svendsen to presume that doctrine is formulated by logic rather than received from on high. Ephesus did not invent the term Theotokos or the proper sense of its interpretation to formulate novel teaching but to explain with greater clarity what was always held and taught - even if initially in an implicit or tacit manner. (Though the term and its usage preceded Ephesus by at least two centuries.) Again, the denunciation of St. John Cassian comes to mind and this author makes it his own in rebuking Dr. Svendsen (slightly modified):

And so you say, O heretic, whoever you may be, who deny that God was born of the Virgin, that Mary the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ ought not to be called Theotocos, i.e., Mother of God, but Christotocos, i.e., only the Mother of Christ, not of God. For no one, you say, brings forth what is anterior in time. [T]his [is an] utterly foolish argument whereby you think that the birth of God can be understood by carnal minds. [By your folly you] fancy that the mystery of His Majesty can be accounted for by human reasoning. [25]
It is based not only on better logic than the "mother of God" formula, but also has support from some of the early churchís best minds.

St. Augustine of Hippo and St. Gregory the Great have now been vindicated from the clutches of Dr. Svendsen. Both of them affirmed Theotokos as defined by Ephesus (Augustine more by implication then Gregory), both of them felt that Mary was sinless, and both of them confessed her perpetual virginity. Indeed they were among the Churchís best minds (as was St. John Cassian) and they were nowhere near endorsing the novel theologies of Dr. Svendsen. The writer apologizes for the length of this response but Dr. Svendsenís accusations needed to be decisively refuted for these kinds of accusations are serious ones. And when the one making them has no idea what they are talking about, it is important to point this out in detail.

The New Roman Catholic Apollinarimonophysites

Now, where are we headed with all this?

It would seem towards pinning an accusation that cannot be sustained onto a few of his "antagonists". Call it a hunchÖ

Simply put, the view espoused partly by Apollinaris and partly by the Monophysites, and condemned by the fifth-century church, is identical to the view of modern Roman Catholic e-pologists who argue that Jesus was a divine person with a human nature (Apollinarianism), and that what may be said of the human nature may also be said of the divine nature (e.g., God was born of Mary; Monophysitism).

This paragraph will be revisited again shortly after we review the serious theological flaws in Svendsenís slaw. If these "e-pologists" as he calls them are guilty of anything it is being forced to reemphasize the orthodox doctrine of the Theotokos against modern day Nestorians such as Dr. Svendsen. (Much the way Augustine had to emphasize the doctrine of Christís humanity against the Docetic Manicheeans.)

Apollinarianism as this writer pointed out earlier denied that Jesus had a true human nature. Apollinarianism affirmed that Christ had a human body (which Monophysitism denied the true nature of) but denied his human intellect and will. Every Catholic this author knows affirms that Jesus obeyed His Father in his human nature. (This is the nature that wanted the "cup to pass" in Gethsemene - see Matt. 26:36-40; Mark 14:32-36; Luke 22:39-43; John 18:1.) Affirming a true human nature in Our Lord is the very foundation of the decrees of Ephesus, which the aforementioned Catholics affirm. Ergo, they are not Apollinarianists since the latter denied the human will of Christ implicitly (as later Monolithitism would explicitly). Only a free rational will can obey or submit and if this was wanting in his human nature, than the Incarnation has been undermined. Unless Dr. Svendsen can prove that any of these "e-pologists" he is critical of denied a rational human intellect to Christ, the claim of Apollinarian heresy does not apply. Heresy after all is not the same as mere error. (Of course not even an actual error has been demonstrated by Dr. Svendsen in his little paper here.)

Remember, the axiom lex orandi lex credendi. In the Catholic Mass of the Revised Missal, Eucharistic Anaphora 2 specifically states "before he was given up to death, a death he freely accepted, he took bread, etc." If Jesus in his humanity freely chose to give up His life for us, and if Catholics pray this at Mass (well when that canon is used anyway), then by prayer we condemn Apollinarianism de jure. As Dr. Svendsen clearly has no idea what Apollinarianism actually was, his first claim of Apollinarian heresy on the part of Catholics is without foundation. Now to focus on Monophysitism.

Monophysitism denied that Jesusí human nature was alike ours excluding sin. They felt that Jesus took on a nature like ours but not actually ours. No Catholic apologist or evangelist that this writer has seen on the web has affirmed any of these things. It is Catholics who have devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and other such devotions which emphasize the humanity of Christ. We are the ones who do the Stations of the Cross and other devotions where the full humanity of Christ is manifested. In reciting the sorrowful mysteries we focus on the agony in the garden where Jesus sweat blood, the scourging at the pillar, etc. We are the ones that use crucifixes to remind ourselves of the suffering of Our Lord in His humanity. Again lex orandi lex credendi. The Catholic Church has recited the Nicene-Constantinopalian Creed in every Sunday Mass since the eleventh century. Prior to that point it was the Creed used in every Profession of Faith proscribed by the Magisterium of the Church. The current profession of faith proscribed by Pope John Paul II is predominantly made up of the Nicene-Constantinopalian Creed. And again this writer finds himself gravitating towards the Roman Missal for proofs.

Anaphora 4 of the Revised Missal specifically states that "He was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, a man like us in all things but sin". The very prayer itself refutes Monophysitism and it is one of the Anaphoras of the Missal. So that is another stake in the heart of these accusations by Dr. Svendsen.

It seems that he does not understand the implications of these heresies the same way he has no idea what Apollinarianism was. Perhaps a little sketch would help (credit for this goes to the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Monophysitism):

Nestorians: One person, two hypostases, two natures.
Catholics: One person, one hypostasis, two natures.
Monophysites: One person, one hypostasis, one nature.
Hopefully that will dispel some of this confusion. Now to revisit this paragraph after re-establishing the primary flaws in Dr. Svendsenís analysis.

Simply put, the view espoused partly by Apollinaris and partly by the Monophysites, and condemned by the fifth-century church, is identical to the view of modern Roman Catholic e-pologists who argue that Jesus was a divine person with a human nature (Apollinarianism), and that what may be said of the human nature may also be said of the divine nature (e.g., God was born of Mary; Monophysitism).

Is Jesus one person or two Dr. Svendsen??? One hypostasis or two??? And if He is two persons than you have just repudiated both Ephesus and Chalcedon both of which teach that Christ was one person with two natures. If you deny that Mary is the Mother of God than you affirm a second hypostasis which Ephesus condemned as heretical and which every General Council since (including Chalcedon) reaffirmed. So since Christ had two natures in one person with one hypostasis, Mary can be said to have bore God and claiming this is hardly to be a Monophysite. To put it bluntly, only someone ignorant of Chalcedon could make such a claim. To quote from the web-site of the Orthodox Church in America who like Catholics subscribe to Chalcedon:

The virtue of the fourth council, in the Orthodox view, is that it defines very clearly the fact that when the Son of God was born as a man from the Virgin Mary, Theotokos, He did not cease to be God or change in His Divinity, while becoming a complete and perfect man in His incarnate Humanity. For salvation itself requires the perfect union of Divinity and Humanity in the one Person of Jesus Christ; a union where God is God and Man is Man, and yet where the two become one in perfect unity: without fusion or change, and without division or separation. [26]
In short, again Dr. Svendsen errs. Thus, since he has no idea what an Appolinarian or a Monophysite actually is, his accusations of heresy on the part of certain "e-pologists" are (as usual for him) without any merit whatsoever.

The Internet quite literally is littered with Roman Catholic e-pologists who have raised the heresies of Apollinaris and the Monophysites from the dead, and have adopted their arguments to defend the theologically aberrant notion that Mary is the Mother of God (see http://www.cathinsight.com/apologetics/nestorius.htm, http://www.cathinsight.com/apologetics/mary.htm, http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Woods/2495/articles/mother_of_god.html, an http://hometown.aol.com/philvaz/articles/num27.htm for a few examples of this).

This is rubbish as has been meticulously demonstrated above. This writer examined Phil Porvasnik's link and saw nothing remotely resembling Dr. Svendsen's claims except a two line passage about the "Lord being born of the Virgin". If THAT constitutes Apollinarianism than ALL the Fathers were Apollinarianists!!! Heck, the only ones NOT Apollinarists would be the Nestorians.

As for the article titled mother_of_god, it was a short tract and did not contain a syllable of either Monophysitism or Apollinarianism either. Unless Dr. Svendsen can point out how affirming two complete natures is either Apollinarian or Monophysite theology, he is yet again in serious theological kimchee. Neither Phil Porvasnik, John Pacheco, Mario Derksen (*), nor Sean Hyland in any way denied Jesusí human nature. To make an accusation such as Dr. Svendsen has requires some proof. Thus far his grasp of ancient heresies is about as unimpressive as his grasp of elementary theology. See the earlier "malpractice" essay for more on this rather sordid track-record by Dr. Svendsen.

Nestorianism denies that Christ possessed his humanity and divinity hypostatically united in one person. (This is manifestly obvious when one reads the letters from Patriarch Nestorius to Patriarch Cyril which the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus condemned.) Monophysitism denies that Christ possessed a human nature alike in all ways to ours except sin. Apollinarianism denies that the human nature of Christ possessed its own intelligence; thus Christ in his humanity was incomplete. This is akin to the later Monolithite heresy which denied that Christ had both a divine as well as a human will. Unless Dr. Svendsen can demonstrate that in emphasizing one element of the mystery of Christ that John Pacheco, Phil Porvasnik, or Sean Hyland are de facto impugning or denying another fundamental element of Christology, than his claims are simply a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.

This author has already dealt with this supposed "theologically aberrant notion" and with the Fathers of Ephesus. John Pacheco, Sean Hyland, and Phil Porvasnik would certainly join in affirming the anathemas of that great and holy synod against the impieties of Nestorius which Dr. Svendsen has not been bashful in embracing as his own ó hence placing overmuch confidence in his own abilities and despising the ancient Apostolic faith. However, let us take a brief look at these three links posted by Dr. Svendsen.

The first web link above has issued what the author calls "The Nestorius Challenge," an obvious reference to my "Roman Catholic Challenge."

What gave it away must have been the sardonic remark about how the author of the challenge (John Pacheco) was not about to let his mouth overload his tuckus as Dr. Svendsen did with your so-called "challenge". (This present writer stated back in 1999 that it was as fake as professional wrestling and since that time Dr. Svendsen has only confirmed this assessment.)

This so-called Challenge is decidedly Apollinarimonophysite in flavor.

Actually it is solidly orthodox and in no way contrary to either Ephesus or Chalcedon. Nor is John Pacheco Apollinarian in his rationale. Apollinarianism was covered in detail earlier in this essay and none of the links supplied by Dr. Svendsen are even remotely Apollinarian.

I have submitted a response to this challenge; we shall see how it is handled and whether or not the host will maintain his Apollinarimonophysite position on this issue.

Maybe if Dr. Svendsen actually knew what he was talking about this might be an interesting thread to follow. But as in the author's earlier essay and as in this present essay, it is not difficult to demonstrate that Dr. Svendsen is quick with the attempt to fit Pacheco, Porvasnik, Hyland, and Derksen into pre-made theological boxes. It must be frustrating for him (and his buddies William Webster and 'Mr. Critic') that Catholics are not so easily boxed in as they would like.

The Nestorius Challenge does nothing but affirm the doctrinal import of Ephesus and in no manner embraces either Apollinarianism or Monophysitism. (As was noted above, Dr. Svendsen has no idea what either of these heresies actually is.) There is nothing in Johnís challenge that is in anyway opposed to the teachings of Ephesus about the nature of the union of human and divine in Jesus Christ. Dr. Svendsen needs to obtain a proper education on these matters and learn how to recognize a properly nuanced argument when he sees it. But then by rejecting Ephesus, Dr. Svendsen cannot properly interpret Chalcedon or the condemnation of Apollinarianism.

The heresy of Monophysitism was brought about in an extreme overreaction to Nestorianism the same way Apollinarianism was to Arianism. The irony is that Arius denied the Divinity of Jesus by claiming in essence "how can the Son be eternally begotten when the very cause of Him being begotten of the Father implies that the Father preceded the Son in existence???" Now with Theotokos Dr. Svendsen and others make a similar appeal to their feeble human logic. Observe the similarities where the import of each heresy is simplified into a form of a question with a logical summary:

Arius: "How can the Son be eternally begotten when the very cause of Him being begotten of the Father implies that the Father preceded the Son in existence??? Since fathers are antecedent to sons, the Father existed before the Son."
Apollinaris: "How can the Son have a human intelligence when He was God??? If we admit an intelligence in Christ other than the Word, we thereby admit two personalities. Two perfect beings with all their attributes cannot be one. Since Nicaea clearly established the divinity of Jesus and that He was God, He could not have had a human intelligence."
Nestorius: "How can Mary be the Mother of God when God is older than she is??? Since mothers are antecedent to their children and since Jesus was also divine, Mary could not have been the Mother of God since she was not older than God. And further, since the man Jesus was merely the temple of the Word (Mary not being the Mother of God), God did not die."
Eutychius: "If Christ was human, how could he share in the same nature as us since human nature is corruptible??? Since human nature is corruptible, Jesus could not have assumed it fully and thus must have transformed his human nature to not be fully akin to ours."
Svendsen: "How can Mary be the Mother of God when God is older than she is??? Since mothers are antecedent to their children and since Jesus was also divine, Mary could not have been the Mother of God since she was not older than God. And further, since the man Jesus was merely the temple of the Word (Mary not being the Mother of God), God did not die."
Those who think that this writer is out in left field equating Dr. Svensen with Nestorius can notice what he is about to say about the statements of one of the "e-pologists" that he is critical of.

[A]nother web article, the Roman Catholic e-pologist makes no attempt whatever to disguise his allegiance to the Apollinarian heresy:

"[T]he second reason this is wrong is that if that were true, we'd have to conclude Jesus was a human person. But that is heretical. Jesus was a divine person only, but had a divine and a human nature. He was man, but not a human person. This is Catholicism 102, folks" (http://www.cathinsight.com/apologetics/david.htm). What is instead "heretical" (biblically and historically) is the e-pologist's notion that Jesus was not a human person.

Let us take a look at some of Marioís article in the vicinity of the passage that Dr. Svendsen refers to:

In human beings, a person has one nature: human nature. In God, it's different. First, though there is only one divine substance, there are three persons, in each of which the full Godhead subsists. Secondly, in the case of Christ's Incarnation, the Lord had two natures, though united in only one person. Thus, in Christ we have the unique instance of a single person with two natures: one human, one divine.
To get back at Svendsen's flawed assertion that "'Divine person' is just another way of saying 'person with a divine nature,'" the second reason this is wrong is that if that were true, we'd have to conclude Jesus was a human person. But that is heretical. Jesus was a divine person only, but had a divine and a human nature. He was man, but not a human person. [27]
How is Mario claiming that Jesus in any way had a defective humanity??? He is not making this claim at all; ergo the charge of Apollinarianism on Dr. Svendsenís part is another error committed by him (which is hardly irregular it might be added).

Now then, what did the Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (aka the un-Svendsen synod) say on the matter???:

4. If anyone distributes between the two persons or hypostases the expressions used either in the gospels or in the apostolic writings, whether they are used by the holy writers of Christ or by him about himself, and ascribes some to him as to a man, thought of separately from the Word from God, and others, as befitting God, to him as to the Word from God the Father, let him be anathema.
7. If anyone says that as man Jesus was activated by the Word of God and was clothed with the glory of the Only-begotten, as a being separate from him, let him be anathema. [28]
And as Cyril wrote to John of Antioch (another letter approved by Ephesus):
For there is one lord Jesus Christ, even though we do not ignore the difference of natures, out of which we say that the ineffable union was effected. As for those who say that there was a mixture or confusion or blending of God the Word with the flesh, let your holiness see fit to stop their mouths. [29]
What is instead "heretical" (biblically and historically) is the e-pologist's notion that Jesus was not a human person.

A notion that none of these so-called "e-pologists" expressed in one iota. This is the fevered brain of Dr. Svendsen working overtime with a McCarthy-like witchhunt mentality. Marioís notion is properly nuanced theologically. It is a certain esteemed doctor who brags of his credentials who is the one who cannot seem to grasp simple Catholicism 102. Jesus is one person with two complete natures. He has a complete divine intellect and a corresponding human one in perfect harmony with his human nature. He has a divine will and also has a human will. He is akin to us in all ways except for sin. Dr. Svendsen is the one misunderstanding Chalcedon, not Mario Derksen.

This same e-pologist, in the very next paragraph and in complete contradiction of Chalcedon, answers the question of whether or not Jesus' divine nature is passible:

"The perhaps astounding but solidly Catholic answer to [the question of whether or not it can be said that "God died"] is YES! And I am quite surprised that throughout his sincere study of Roman Catholic theology, it it a little hothead like me who has to point out to him that this is what the Church teaches."

This is not an argument about a passable nature in Christ. It is a recognition on the part of Mario Derksen of something which Dr. Svendsen will all of his credentials should be able to comprehend: by affirming that God was born, lived, suffered, and died, Mario affirms the completeness of the Incarnation. Because Dr. Svendsen denies Ephesus, he by default denies the Incarnation or at least strongly undermines it. As Chalcedon was to the humanity of Christ, Ephesus was to the divinity of Christ. Denying either one undermines the Incarnation and thus Christís atoning sacrifice.

Perhaps this is what the Roman church teaches today, but it is certainly not what the fifth-century church taught in its condemnation of the Monophysite heresy.

In condemning Monophysitism, Chalcedon also affirmed the previous three Ecumenical synods. That includes Ephesus which affirmed Cyrilís first letter to Nestorius:

So we shall confess one Christ and one Lord. We do not adore the man along with the Word, so as to avoid any appearance of division by using the word "with". But we adore him as one and the same, because the body is not other than the Word, and takes its seat with him beside the Father, again not as though there were two sons seated together but only one, united with his own flesh. If, however, we reject the hypostatic union as being either impossible or too unlovely for the Word, we fall into the fallacy of speaking of two sons. We shall have to distinguish and speak both of the man as honoured with the title of son, and of the Word of God as by nature possessing the name and reality of sonship, each in his own way. We ought not, therefore, to split into two sons the one Lord Jesus Christ. Such a way of presenting a correct account of the faith will be quite unhelpful, even though some do speak of a union of persons. For scripture does not say that the Word united the person of a man to himself, but that he became flesh. The Word's becoming flesh means nothing else than that he partook of flesh and blood like us; he made our body his own, and came forth a man from woman without casting aside his deity, or his generation from God the Father, but rather in his assumption of flesh remaining what he was. [30]
So if Chalcedon affirmed the decrees of Ephesus, than the position as espoused by Mario Derksen above was likewise affirmed. And in the process the position espoused by Dr. Svendsen was anathematized. Quid pro quo.

The e-pologist, like his colleagues, has simply resurrected the Monophysite heresy and called it "[Roman] Catholicism 102."

No, Dr. Svendsen has demonstrated that he cannot grasp the concept of one person with two full natures hypostatically united. In claiming to affirm Chalcedon he actually stands condemned by Chalcedon since the teachings of Mary as Mother of God were overwhelmingly defined by Ephesus and later reaffirmed by Chalcedon, Constantinople II, Constantinople III, Nicaea II, and Constantinople IV, etc. etc. etc.

In doing so, he has placed his entire denomination

Nice try Dr. Svendsen. John, Sean, Mario, and Phil belong to the one Church of Christ. The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church subsists in the Catholic Church which is governed by the successors of the Apostles. (See the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium from the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council for the teaching and the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas to understand the concept of subsistence.) It is you Dr. Svendsen and your cronies who have set up shop outside the ark and are almost certainly contumacious in remaining there. God is not mocked.

under the condemnation of Augustine, Gregory the Great, Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, Athanasius, the Western church in 377 A.D., the Eastern church in 388 A.D., the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D.,

Dr. Svendsenís errors with regards to St. Augustine of Hippo and St. Gregory the Great have already been decisively refuted. (Not to mention his manifest errors on the heresies of Apollinarianism and Monophysitism.) It would not be difficult to do the same with regards to Athanasius the Great, Basil the Great, and Gregory of Nazansius. It seems that the good doctor is still expounding an error that this writer demolished in the aforementioned malpractice essay with regards to a "western-church" and an "eastern-church" before 1054. Though there are Churches properly so-constituted both in canon law and also in theology, at the same time there was no such thing as separate churches in the sense Dr. Svendsen speaks of. (Which is in the sense of two autonomous communities.) Instead, there was one united spiritual communion of churches, which constituted the ancient belief in the Church of Christ. As this writer noted in his essay on Christian unity in quoting the Protestant scholar Canon A J Mason:

The testimony is ample and it is consistent. Whatever variations may be discerned, in accordance with the idiosyncracies of particular authors, the main outlines of the conception are the same. Alike in Rome and at Alexandria, in Africa and in the East, men believed in a great spiritual community, founded by Christ, through His Spirit working in His Apostles, to which the promises of the Old Testament were attached. This community was necessarily unique. In it, and in it alone, the gifts and graces of the Spirit of Christ were to be looked for. In spite of human imperfections, it was guided and permeated in every part by the Spirit. Nor was this community an intangible thing. It was a reality of experience, embodied in a pastoral discipline. The society was well known and unmistakable. Its doctrine was everywhere the same; its worship with rich diversity of forms, centered round one Eucharistic memorial. It had an organized hierarchy for worship and the pastorate of souls. This hierarchy maintained union between the local branches, and did so in the name and the authority of Christ. However far back the history is traced, no date can be assigned, however roughly, for the appearance of Catholicism in the Church. The Church was Catholic from the outset. [31]
[A]nd, of course, the Scriptures themselves which insist that Jesus in His humanity was the "Son of David according to the flesh" (Rom 1:3)

But as Apollinaris, Arius, Nestorius, Eutychius, and others throughout history have demonstrated - including Dr. Svendsen - it is clear that there is more to that statement than would casually appear.

and had a mother, but in His divinity was the "Son of God" (Rom 1:4)

Romans 1:4 says that Jesus was "fore-ordained Son of God". It seems that Dr. Svendsen is unaware that the term "Son of God" in Apostolic times was of a wider import then Evangelicals today casually presume. As the Catholic Encyclopedia noted on the matter:

The title "son of God" is frequent in the Old Testament. The word "son" was employed among the Semites to signify not only filiation, but other close connexion or intimate relationship. Thus, "a son of strength" was a hero , a warrior, "son of wickedness" a wicked man, "sons of pride" wild beasts, "son of possession" a possessor, "son of pledging" a hostage, "son of lightning" a swift bird, "son of death" one doomed to death, "son of a bow" an arrow, "son of Belial" a wicked man, "sons of prophets" disciples of prophets etc. The title "son of God" was applied in the Old Testament to persons having any special relationship with God. Angels, just and pious men, the descendants of Seth, were called "sons of God" (Job, i, 6; ii, 1; Ps. lxxxviii, 7; Wisd., ii, 13; etc.). In a similar manner it was given to Israelites (Deut., xiv, l); and of Israel, as a nation, we read: "And thou shalt say to him: Thus saith the Lord: Israel is my son, my firstborn. I have said to thee: Let my son go, that he may serve me" (Ex., iv, 22 sq.). [32]
and was "without [human] father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life" (Heb 7:3).

That verse applied in context to Melchizedek. To quote from the Epistle to the Hebrews Chapter 7:

Hebrews 7
1 This MELCHIZEDEK was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2 and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means "king of righteousness"; then also, "king of Salem" means "king of peace." 3 Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever. 4 Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! [33]
Again it would be asked that context be applied to any passage cited from Scripture. In summary:

Dr. Svendsenís understanding of ancient ecclesiology is as defective as his understanding of orthodox Christology, Patristic theology, doctrinal development, or the proper understanding of the Scriptures. All this essay has done is reaffirm what the author demonstrated in the aforementioned malpractice essay only with even greater detail: Dr. Svendsen has no idea what he is talking about. Here is even more proof from his own keyboard:

He [Mario is] under the condemnation ofÖBasil, Gregory of Nazianzus, AthanasiusÖ

Those eliminated with the ellipses above have already been vindicated from the fraud and spiritual malpractice of Dr. Eric Svendsen. Here is Athanasius the Great on the Theotokos (which means "God-bearer") and on another of the good doctorís pet peeves ó the Perpetual Virginity of Mary:

And the Angel on his appearance, himself confesses that he has been sent by his Lord; as Gabriel confessed in the case of Zacharias, and also in the case of Mary, bearer of God. [34]
Therefore let those who deny that the Son is from the Father by nature and proper to His Essence, deny also that He took true human flesh of Mary Ever-Virgin; for in neither case had it been of profit to us men, whether the Word were not true and naturally Son of God, or the flesh not true which He assumed. [35]
What about Gregory of Nazanzius???:
If anyone does not believe that Holy Mary is the Mother of God, he is severed from the Godhead. [36]
What about Basil the Great???:
[But] since THE LOVERS OF CHRIST [that is, the faithful] DO NOT ALLOW THEMSELVES TO HEAR THAT THE MOTHER OF GOD CEASED AT ANY POINT TO BE A VIRGIN, we consider their testimony to be sufficient." [37]
According to St. Basil the Great, Dr. Svendsen would not be a lover of Christ. According to St. Gregory of Nazanzus, Dr. Svendsen is severed from the Godhead. It is patently clear that St. Athanasius the Great would not view these matters any differently as his passion for orthodoxy is hardly a secret to anyone moderately informed on these matters.

It is not necessary to highlight the unanimous testimony of the Fathers of the Church on the doctrines of the Theotokos and the Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary. (Especially since our resident theological "expert" is still unwilling to accept the challenge of Dr. Art Sippo to put up or shut up on these questions.) We have come to the end of examining this so-called "revelation" of Dr. Svendsen of his slanderous accusations against John Pacheco, Phil Porvasnik, Mario Derksen, and Sean Hyland. (And by implication anyone who argues these points in a similar manner as these gentlemen do.) It is time for the only verdict that a sane individual could render as to the quality of his research, his depth of theological knowledge, and his expertise on these matters.

In conclusion, this has been another fine performance of theological precision and accuracy turned in by Dr. Eric Svendsen. Again if theology was medicine this would be a case of serious (and serial) "spiritual malpractice". For those who want to buy his books, this is the sort of twisted rationale and degree of accuracy you can expect. Thus the warnings of Our Lord about the fate of the blind being led by the blind and both falling into the ditch should be remembered (Matt. 15:14; Luke 6:39). Caveat Emptor!!!

Dedicated to all those who have ever been slandered in any way by "Dr" Eric Svendsen. (Especially the Blessed and Ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of God.)


[(*) Though Mario Derksen, since the time this essay was written, has unfortunately made the conscious decision to affiliate himself solidly with schismatics and other unsavoury characters, this writer will still extend the courtesy of pointing out that he is neither an Apollinarian or a Monophysite as Dr. Svendsen had sought to infer - ISM 1/20/03]

Bibliography:

[1] St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria: Second letter to Patriarch Nestorius of Constantinople (c. 430 AD)

[2] St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria: Second letter to Patriarch Nestorius of Constantinople (c. 430 AD)

[3] John Pacheco: "The Nestorius Challenge", introduction (c. 2001)

[4] John Pacheco: "The Nestorius Challenge" (c. 2001)

[5] Council of Ephesus: From the twelve anathemas proposed by Cyril and accepted by the Council (c. 431)

[6] Council of Chalcedon: Definition of Faith (c. 451 AD).

[7] Council of Ephesus: From the twelve anathemas proposed by Cyril and accepted by the Council (c. 431)

[8] St. Augustine of Hippo: Tractate VIII on John 2:1-4 §9

[9] St. Augustine of Hippo: Tractate VIII on John 2:1-4 §9

[10] St. Augustine of Hippo: Tractate VIII on John 2:1-4 §9

[11] St. Augustine of Hippo: Tractate VIII on John 2:1-4 §9 (in its entirety)

[12] St. Augustine of Hippo: Tractate VIII on John 2:1-4 §9

[13] Council of Ephesus: Formula of Union between Cyril and John of Antioch (c. 431)

[14] St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria: First letter to Patriarch Nestorius of Constantinople (c. 430 AD)

[15] St. Augustine of Hippo: Tractate VIII on John 2:1-4 §8

[16] Catholic Encyclopedia: From the article "Manichæism" (c. 1913)

[17] Catholic Encyclopedia: From the article "Manichæism" (c. 1913)

[18] St. Augustine of Hippo: Sermon 186 §1

[19] St. Augustine of Hippo: De Sancte Virginitae 2,4 (c. 400)

[20] St. John Cassian: The Incarnation of Christ, II:2 (A.D. 430)

[21] Council of Ephesus: Formula of Union between Cyril and John of Antioch (c. 431)

[22] Pope St. Gregory the Great: To John of Constantinople, Epistle 24 (A.D. 591), in NPNF2, XII:81*

[23] Pope St. Gregory the Great: I Regnum 1, 5; Patrologiae Cursus Completus Migne (c. 1841)

[24] Sir Nicholas Cheetham: "A History of the Popes" (c. 1982)

[25] St. John Cassian, The Incarnation of Christ, II:2 (A.D. 430)

[26] Orthodox Church of America (OCA): Doctrine on the Incarnation (c. 2001)

[27] Mario Derksen: David vs. Goliath ó Answers to Eric Svendsenís Attack (c. 2001)

[28] Council of Ephesus: From the twelve anathemas proposed by Cyril and accepted by the Council (c. 431)

[29] Council of Ephesus: Formula of Union between Cyril and John of Antioch (c. 431)

[30] St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria: First letter to Patriarch Nestorius of Constantinople (c. 430 AD)

[31] Canon A.J. Mason: "Early Conceptions of the Church" in Essays on the Early History of the Church and the Ministry by H.B. Swete (c. 1921) as quoted in I. Shawn McElhinneyís essay Christian Unity and the Role of Authority (c. 2001)

[32] Catholic Encyclopedia: From the article "Son of God", (c. 1913)

[33] Hebrews 7:1-4 (as quoted from the New International Version)

[34] St. Athanasius the Great: Orations III §14 (A.D. 362), in NPNF2, IV:401*

[35] St. Athanasius the Great: Orations against the Arians, II:70 (A.D. 362), in NPNF2, IV:386-387*

[36] St. Gregory of Nazianzus: To Cledonius,101 (A.D. 382), in NPNF2, VII:439*

[37] St. Basil the Great: On the Holy Generation of Christ §5; Patrologiae Cursus Completas Series Graeca (Paris: Migne, 1857-1866)

Other Notes:

The citations from the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus were obtained at the following link: http://www.piar.hu/councils/ecum03.htm

The citations from John Pachecoís essay "The Nestorius Challenge" can be located at the following link: http://www.catholic-legate.com/challenge/nestorius.html

The citations from the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon were obtained at the following link: http://www.piar.hu/councils/ecum04.htm

The citations from St. Augustineís Tract VIII on the Gospel of John were obtained at the following link: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1701008.htm

The citations from the Catholic Encyclopedia article "Manichæism" were obtained at the following link: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09591a.htm

The citation from St. Augustineís essay "On Holy Virginity" was obtained at the following link: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1310.htm

The citation from St. John Cassianís seven book series "The Incarnation of Christ" was obtained from Book II at the following link: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/35092.htm

The citation marked with a * was obtained at Joe Gallegosí web-site Corunum Catholic Apologetics, which specializes in Patristics studies: http://www.cin.org/users/jgallegos/theotok.htm

The citations of St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Gregory the Great, and St. Basil the Great that are not supplied with a live link were obtained from Fr. Luigi Gamberoís book "Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought", Ignatius Press, San Francisco, ISBN ó 0-89870-686-6, (c. 1999)

The citation from the OCA was obtained at the following link: http://www.oca.org/pages/orth_chri/Orthodox-Faith/Doctrine/Incarnation.html

The citation from Mario Derksen was taken from his article "David vs. Goliath" located at the following link: http://www.cathinsight.com/apologetics/david.htm

The citation from the authorís essay "Christian Unity and the Role of Authority" was obtained at the following link: http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/unity.html

The citation from the Catholic Encyclopedia article "Son of God" was obtained at the following link: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14142b.htm

The citation from the New International Version of the Holy Bible was obtained at the following link: http://bible.gospelcom.net/bible?passage=Hebrews+7&version=NIV&showfn=yes&showxref=yes&language=english

©2001, "The Theological Troubles of Dr. Eric Svendsen", written by I. Shawn McElhinney. This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author.

Page created by: Matt1618. Send email with questions on this article to I. Shawn McElhinney ismac@lycos.com



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