Saturday, February 9, 2013

One More Response to HRC

HRC keeps coming after me with his wrong-headed comments and questions. Instead of ignoring him or deleting his responses, I simply offer the following brief comments.

To get a better idea of his way of thinking, visit his blog at:

You obviously do not understand the nature of Christian faith. It is not a matter of believing a bunch of propositional statements about the Trinity or any other dogmatic formulation. Authentic faith is the trust that results from the preaching of the gospel about Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection for the forgiveness of one's sins. Dogma serves the gospel; faith is in the gospel, not in a collection of dogmas or dogmatic formulations per se, however good, right, and true they might otherwise be.

Your blog post attacking Pres. K's exegesis reveals your own misguided reading of Scripture on Elijah, Paul, and Jesus.

Did Elijah preach fire and brimstone to the unbelieving, non-Israelite, Gentile widow of Zarephath? He acted in love and restored the widow's dead child. He had compassion on the woman and her dead son.

Who among us today--after 1555, 1648, 1783, 9/11--is going to act exactly like Elijah did when he entered a mixed-faith setting with those prophets of Baal? If you could somehow get the LORD to light your wood in that mixed-faith setting, would you then seize the other religious leaders and take them out to the  nearest brook and murder them, as Elijah did? Do you not understand that not every action in Scripture is one that applies to our situation today. That particular incident occurred in the long-past historical setting of Israel's nationhood. What God allowed Elijah to do, he isn't allowing anyone who follows Jesus to do in our very different situation. The ancient nation of Israel is not identical to the church of Jesus Christ.

What do you make of the story in 1 Kings 19:9ff.? The LORD was not found in the strong wind that rent the mountains and broke the rocks into pieces, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire. The LORD made himself known in the still small voice. "What are you doing here?" That sounds a bit like a gospel voice, but it is actually law.

I suppose if that were you, you could answer in a way similar to Elijah: "I have been very jealous for
the LORD, the God of hosts; for many in the LCMS have forsaken your covenant, compromised your altars..." And, in keeping with the biblical text, the living and true LORD would then say to you, "Don't worry about it. Return to the wilderness in which I have placed you.  Get out among the non-Christians and make a positive witness. I will make sure that not everyone bows before truly false gods of their own making."

Yes, elsewhere Elijah speaks a word of judgment to wicked Ahab. But that was only one word of the LORD and such a word isn't always given to us to speak in every situation.

I know of no pastor in the LCMS who could ever stay rostered if he prophesied along the lines of 1 Kings 21:19. Or did exactly what Elijah did with those Baal prophets. He'd end up on death row as the worst mass murderer in US history. At best we allegorize or spiritualize such words that are given in 21:19 or, better, we tie them tightly to the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from all sins. And we note how that specific prophecy of Elijah did not come to pass because Ahab humbled himself. God showed mercy to Ahab.

Your comments about other religions, were you to share them in an interfaith setting, would not lead to the kind of repentance that AC 12 describes: contrition or terrors that strike the conscience when sin is recognized--AND FAITH, which is brought to life solely by the gospel. You might be able to get people upset and angry with you, but none of the words you indicate ought to be shared in such a setting would ever lead anyone to faith in Jesus Christ. Rather, your words come off as hypocritical and Pharisaical, as if being a good LCMS person, rather than a good Muslim or a good Jew, "because we believe in Jesus and a bunch of other things, and you don't," will get you to heaven.

Those who are grieving know the terrors that strike the heart. They don't need superficial, judgmental rantings about other religions and false gods in that setting. They need to hear the true and authentic gospel, the one that alone consoles the conscience and liberates people from the terrors of evil, sin, and death.

No one was speaking out against Pr. Morris until zealous Pharisees in the LCMS started attacking him for what he had done. As far as I know, no one who heard Pr. Morris condemned him publicly or rejected the words that he shared, except people in his own church body.

What about Paul? Re-read Acts 17. Consider the kind of witness he made to those religious people in Athens. He didn't condemn them, but sought to build upon the knowledge of God that they already had been given. Same goes for his participation in the services of the word and prayer in the many Jewish synagogues he repeatedly visited. He tried to be winsome, not religiously bigoted and hateful.

Your comments reveal a more serious theological problem in your apparent understanding, a soteriological problem. You are blind to the real scandal of Jesus, as if the parable that you quoted is about "non-Christians" and "Christians," when in fact the parable is about the rejection of God's word of grace and mercy, which alone produces the good fruits of love that follow from trust in Jesus.
How does that parable in any way relate to a pastor sharing the gospel within a civic setting? True, people can reject the gospel, but how does the pastor's own sharing of the gospel or a divine blessing in any way go against the teaching of this parable about rejecting the Son of God? If people reject what the pastor shares about the Son of God at the interfaith event, then they bear the responsibility for that rejection, not the pastor who shares the good word.

Could it be that the parable is directed against all Pharisaically-minded people? One could easily apply this parable to anyone who has been given the responsibility to care for others pastorally, through word and loving deed, but fails to heed the word. I'm thinking in particular of the exhortation that Paul gives in 1 Cor. 13 and the basic one that is given in 1 Jn 4. How are you heeding these admonitions, you who refuse to voice any compassion for the people who suffered the deaths of their children and loved ones from the actions of a crazed gunman?

How can any evangelical preacher proclaim that any one specific person who has died is in hell? What arrogance! What idolatry! That is not "rude," that is blasphemy! What an uncaring, hard-hearted, mean-spirited mindset. It makes the death of Jesus cheap, it limits his atonement, it denies the promise that Paul proclaims in Rom. 11:32 and several other places (1 Cor. 15:22-28, etc.), it rejects the hope that Peter gives in Acts 3:21, it ignores the central affirmation in John 3:16-17.

Christian Gottlieb Barth (d. 1862) once said, "Anyone who does not believe in the universal restoration is an ox, but anyone who teaches it is an ass." Those same labels should be applied to anyone who preaches, in whatever setting, that specific people and groups of people are definitely going to hell or are in fact in hell. To speak the way you have done is to put yourself in the place of God in a way that takes you well beyond the limited, finite calling you have been given. Yes, pastors and all Christians have the responsibility to speak God's words of law and promise, for the sake of leading people to the kind of repentance described in AC 12, but that is far different from proclaiming with certainty that God has in fact damned eternally those you think ought to be damned. You are not in a position to say "God damn you" about anyone who has died.


  1. As usual, Matthew Becker uses many words to avoid answering straightforward questions.

    And, he now opens himself up for more questions.

    Matt, let me ask you this.

    Is anyone in hell, or will there be, and who are they and why are they there?

    If you will permit me to quote the Bible, and in my own obviously inferior exegetical skills, I must say I don't find much in this text that would be unclear.

    Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36

  2. People who don't believe in Jesus go to hell.

    When invited to address a group of people who don't believe in Jesus, when surrounded by religious leaders who don't believe in Jesus, one's preaching would really seem lacking if one didn't point out that people who don't believe in Jesus go to hell.

    This is used to be the commonest of sense among Christians of all stripes. It still is the simple, Biblical truth.


  3. Dr. Becker-

    "Whoever desires to be saved must, above all, hold the catholic faith. Whoever does not keep it whole and undefiled will without doubt perish eternally...This is the catholic faith; whoever does not believe it faithfully and firmly cannot be saved."

    Do you confess that to be true or not?

    Pastor Benjamin Ball
    St. Paul, Hamel, IL

  4. Pr. Ball,
    The Athanasian Creed errs when it implies that one is saved by a mental work of believing this creed's humanly-devised dogmatic statements "faithfully and firmly."

    No Eastern Orthodox Christian will accept all of the formulations within this historic western creed. Many statements in it need careful clarification. Its conclusion is simply incorrect. The Athanasian Creed muddles the gospel at precisely this point.

  5. Dr. Becker,

    Members of our Synod agree to accept the Athanasian Creed "without reservation" (Art. II of our Constitution). We are pretty up front about that and have been for a long time. Perhaps it came up at your ordination. If it didn't (for example, if you wrote your own ordination vows and didn't use the ones in the TLH or LW Agenda), it certainly did when you signed the Constitution.

    I understand that you have deeply held convictions that run contrary to this Confession of the faith. But I struggle to understand why you continue to put yourself forward as a representative of our Synod when you so clearly do not hold to our Confession on so many weighty issues. It is not as though you are struggling with one or two peripheral issues, unsure of where you stand, or sure the Synod has erred in its stance on life insurance or gambling. You just flat our deny what we require our ministers to swear to at their ordination.

    I'll give you this: it's bold.


    1. Pr. H.R. Bold, you say? If you are nominating Dr. Becker for the Sabre of Boldness, I will second the nomination.

    2. HRC,

      I was ordained on July 14, 1989. In that service I was asked the following question, among several:

      Do you accept the three Ecumenical faithful testimonies to the truth
      of the Holy Scriptures, and do you reject all the errors which they condemn?

      I answered affirmatively. The three creeds (only one of which is truly ecumenical) are faithful testimonies to the truth of the Holy Scriptures, that is, the doctrinal truth of the Scriptures. I reject the errors that the three creeds condemn.

      They are faithful witnesses to the doctrinal truth of the Scriptures, but they are not without theological ambiguity and error.

      Our ordination vow is strictly limited to the doctrinal teaching of the Holy Scriptures, that is, the doctrine of the gospel and all its articles.

      THAT doctrine of the gospel, the doctrine of faith, is contrary to the kind of legalistic approach to dogma and confessional writings that you and Pr. Ball and other LCMS pastors seem to be asserting.

      Pastors who serve churches of the Augsburg Confession are not bound to many items that are taught or asserted in the confessional writings. This includes the concluding paragraph of the Athanasian Creed. That paragraph, literally understood, is contrary to the doctrine of the gospel.

      Our quia vow is to teach in accordance with the doctrinal content of the Holy Scriptures, as that content is exhibited in the historic confessions.

      I continue to preach and teach in accordance with my ordination vow, and I ask God to help me.

    3. Can you then distinguish for us the quia vow from the quatenus vow?


    4. Pr. H.R. - for the benefit of those of us in the pew, please define the Latin words. It would also be helpful if you could include the Scripture passages and references from the Book of Concord that distinguish the two vows that you mentioned. Thanks.

  6. "They are faithful witnesses to the doctrinal truth of the Scriptures, but they are not without theological ambiguity and error."

    They are faithful witnesses with theological ambiguity and error.


    Further proof that Matthew Becker has embraced a theological Weltanschauung that is quite entirely at odds with both the Holy Scriptures themselves and the Lutheran Confessions.

    Matt, it's time to move into a church body, the ELCA, where your views are welcomed, encouraged and praised! You would be so much happier there.

    1. Pr. McCain - It would be correct to conclude that Dr. Becker has embraced a theological Weltanschauung that is at odds with your theological Weltanschauung. However, I think you contradict the confession you profess when you suggest that his theological Weltanschauung is entirely at odds the Scriptures and the Confessions.

    2. Mr. Mundinger, I'm sure Matt Becker appreciates your support, but as a member of the ELCA and, as far as I can tell, a member of the Montana Synod Council, I really do not believe you are in a very good position to instruct members of The LCMS what is and what is not their church body's doctrinal positions.

      Matt Becker continues to advocate for positions contrary to the position of The LCMS, and has been roundly rebuked by the Missouri Synod's Commission on Theology and Church Relations, not once, but twice.

      Honest would require of a person of integrity that they resign member in a church body that they no longer agree with, and can no longer fulfill their membership obligations in.

    3. Pr. McCain - I don't think I'm instructing members of the LCMS as much as I am trying to understand what happened to the church in I was raised.

      I appreciate that you brought the Leuenberg Concord to my attention. I was not aware that document exists. I understand how it contradicts the doctrine/practice of the LCMS. I do not understand how it contradicts the Lutheran Confessions which is the same point that I made above regarding theological Weltanschauung.

      As I read the Concord through a layman's eyes, it doesn't say much more than, "As Lutheran and Reformed Christians, we believe that the confession we hold in common regarding the person of Christ, justification and the Sacraments is more important than our differences regarding those and other confessional matters." Certainly, that is a different statement of faith than to confess that the Lutheran Symbols are a correct understanding of God's Inspired Word. While that confession might contradict what Walther and Pieper had to say about fellowship with other Christians, it does not contradict the Lutheran Confession nor does it affirm the doctrines of the Reformed churches with which Lutherans disagree.

      I agree that honesty would require a person of integrity to resign from a church body with which he no longer agrees. Honesty also ought to compel those who are calling for Dr. Becker's resignation to acknowledge that the disagreement really is about matters other than Scripture and the Confessions.

  7. This is quite new to me. I was ordained in 1987 and for the past 25 years have always took for granted that the Athanasian Creed was accepted by the Lutheran church (and the LCMS in particular) as free of doctrinal/theological error. If I had thought the church intimated that it did contain error I would never have used it as a confession of faith in a public worship service, which I have. This is the first time I have heard a rostered member of the LCMS clergy accuse this creed of theological error. Why would our church include it in our hymnals for use in public worship going back to TLH and before, if it felt that it was in error? And which church body has rejected this creed for supposed theological error? As far as I know it has been accepted quite widely within Protestantism and in the Roman church, even if it is used with less frequency in the recent past.

  8. Becker's position on confessional fidelity is the classic "quaetenus" subscription to the Lutheran Confessions:

    "I confess these confessions as faithful witnesses to the truth of Scripture, but of course, only in so far as they do not make errors, as the Athanasian Creed does."

    Becker has gone on record also accepting and promoting the Leuenberg Concord, which is clearly at odds with the Formula of Concord's article on the Lord's Supper.

    I wonder what other doctrinal errors Becker has been able to identify in the Book of Concord?

    I'm sure he would be providing an invaluable service to the Lutheran Church if he were to help us all recognize the errors in the Book of Concord's other confessional writings.

    1. Pr. McCain - can you cite a reference to the Confessions that defines "quaetenus subscription"?

    2. Mr. Schenks - I presume that, if you could add substance to this conversation, you would not have to resort to ad hominems.

  9. Mr. Mundinger can you explain the important distinction between a "quia" and "quaetenus" subscription?

    1. Pr. McCain - I understand how confessional Lutherans use those terms to distinguish themselves from other Lutherans. I understand that the terms were developed by Lutheran theologians during the history of Lutheranism in this country. And, I understand why you think those terms are important because, as you have already indicated in this conversation, it is the core of your rationale for asking Dr. Becker to resign from the LCMS and the rationale for the "or else" that I perceive is implicit in your request.

      I have asked you twice for specific cites from the Confessions that would help me to better understand why "quia" v. "quaetenus" subscription is important. You have not yet responded to that request. I have a second edition of the CPH version of the Book of Concord. I presume that if any edition would have those terms in the subject index, it would be that one. But, those terms are not there. If the distinctions are not spelled out in the Confessions, how important are they, really? And, if such distinctions are not spelled out in the Confessions, why is the LCMS adding caveats to its confessional statement?

  10. John: If you do not think the distinction between a qualified and an unqualified subscription to the Lutheran Confessions is important, I now can more fully understand why you are cheering Matthew Becker on.

    I do hope Matt Becker will provide us with a list of all the errors in assertions that he has found in the Book of Concord, since now he has declared the Athanasian Creed to be in error in its assertion about the necessity of confessing God's Word correctly.

    1. Pr. McCain - What I do not understand is why a professed "confessional" Lutheran would put so much emphasis on a teaching that is not found in the Confessions to distinguish himself from other Lutherans. It sounds very much like a self-contradicting argument because your "unqualified subscription" is very much "qualified" by the non-confessional dogma to which you have also subscribed.

      And, please note that I am not "cheering Matthew Becker on". I do not know Dr. Becker except for conversations on this blog and some of his sermons which are on the internet - sermons which I find spiritually edifying and consistent with the LCMS theology in which I was raised.

      I am trying to better understand your criticism of him. I am trying to better understand why some LCMS pastors behave as though it is more important to use the light that we have been given to seek out every last leaven of doctrinal "impurity" under their basket, rather than to let it shine for the world to see. I am trying to better understand why some LCMS pastors are so focused on hounding their clergy brethren rather than tend to the flocks which they are called to shepherd. And, I am trying to better understand the evolution in LCMS' theology that has occurred since my youth.

  11. John, I think you have your hands more than full dealing with the fall out from the gay clergy decisions in the ELCA out in the Montana Synod. I understand the fact that you find an ally in Matthew Becker, but I'm not really interesting in talking to you about any of these issues, thanks.

    1. Pr. McCain - indeed it has been a difficult issue for us and we are trying to work through it faithfully.

      By raising that matter, I presume that you would rather discuss that subject than provide honest questions to the very basic question that I asked. However, human sexuality vis a vis the Montana Synod of the ELCA is irrelevant to the topic of this particular blog.

  12. Now back to Becker's assertions about the nature of error in the Athanasian Creed.

    We need to understand the significance of a LCMS pastor now openly asserting this point.

    It is deeply troubling and yet one more example of where, and how, Matthew Becker has placed himself outside of the Biblical and Confessional commitments he has freely made as a rostered member of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

    1. Dr Becker,
      certainly this is my concern also. You have boldly made the charge that the Athanasian Creed is in error. How can you have it both ways? Confess at your ordination that the Creed is a faithful witness, but also in theological error?

      It cannot be both. The creeds of the Church Catholic have no ambiguity or error. This is not legalistic, but truth. To maintain the creedal statements as being true in all parts is to maintain the very Gospel of Christ.

      Pastor Benjamin Ball

  13. Pr. Ball,

    I'm hardly the only Lutheran theologian who has acknowledged that the final sentences of the Athanasian Creed contradict the gospel:

    "Those who have done good will enter eternal life, those who have done evil will enter eternal fire. This is the catholic faith. One cannot be saved without believing this firmly and faithfully."

    We are not saved by our good works. We are not saved by believing that those who have done good works will enter eternal life, while those who have done evil will enter eternal fire. We are not saved by teaching that those who have done good works will enter eternal life and that those who have done evil will enter eternal fire. We are not saved by any kind of mental work on our part, certainly not by thinking true dogmatic propositions, however good, right, and true they might otherwise be. That is to make our mental, dogmatic thinking the condition for our salvation. It was precisely this way of thinking about salvation that Luther rightly condemned on the basis of what Paul and John teach about justification.

    We are saved by divine grace sola fide, on account of Christ Jesus, his death and resurrection.

    The Athanasian Creed is a human document, thoroughly human. It is a western document and not truly ecumenical. It is not without theological error and ambiguities.

    Nevertheless, it is a faithful witness to the Person of Christ, and it rightly condemns certain specific Christological heresies, as understood within the western, Latin tradition.

    Within that western, catholic tradition, pastors vow at ordination to teach in accord with the Christological affirmations of the Athanasian Creed and to condemn the Christological errors that it condemns. We do not confess any of the main creeds to be "true in all their parts," nor do we confuse the gospel per se with any one part of the creeds, let alone all their parts as a totality. The creeds bear witness to the gospel, but they are not in their totality identical to the gospel.

    BTW, my very first published article was on the Athanasian Creed. It was published in the Lutheran Witness back in the early 1990s.

    I am critical of the Athanasian Creed's final sentences.

    1. Rite of Installation:
      P: "Do you believe and confess the three Eccumenical Creeds, namely the Apostles', the Nicene, and the Athanasian Creeds, as faithful testimonies to the truth of the Holy Scriptures, and do you reject all the errors which they condemn"
      R: "Yes, I believe and confess the three Ecumenical Creeds because they are in accord with the Word of God. I also reject all the errors they contain."

      It would seem that by stating your acceptance of the creed as teaching "in according with the Christological affirmations" you are saying less than you originally did in your ordination vows. Here we are asked to affirm that they are "faithful testimonies to the *truth of the Holy Scriptures.*" Nowhere are we asked to affirm only part of the creed.

    2. No, Pr. Engebretson, you are attempting to include more in our ordination vow than we have actually vowed.

      I stand by what I have written about confessing the Christological and theological doctrine about God and Christ as presented in the Athanasian Creed, as faithful, biblically-grounded teaching about God and Christ and as correct condemnation of positions that are contrary to orthodox Christological and theological dogma--provided these formulations are understood in their 9th-c. context and in light of the historical development of doctrine in the preceding seven centuries.

      But the Athanasian Creed is not inerrant. It contains sentences that are open to theological misunderstanding and its conclusion, if understood literally, directly contradicts the biblical teaching about salvation sola fide.

      Look, do you really think that the final sentences of the Athanasian Creed are fully consistent with the apostolic teaching that a person is saved by God's grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ, apart from the doing of good works?

      Clearly, the Creed is reflecting a 9th-century understanding of justification and dogma that is already by that point in history quite at odds with Pauline and Johannine understandings--and certainly at odds with the teaching of justification that is given in AC 4 and Apol. 4 (where faith is emphasized as fiducia and not as notitia, as in the Athanasian Creed).

      BTW, I will be deleting any further accusations and speculations by Paul McCain and others about my teaching and faith. I refuse to respond to his rantings and accusations, esp. when I judge them to be distortions of what I have actually written. He is free to attack me elsewhere, but as the manager of this blog I will no longer permit him to do so here.

  14. the last sentences of the Athanasian Creed actually are almost verbatim taken from Jesus' own words in the Gospel of John 5:29. What is it to "do good" but to believe in the one whom God sent? And what is it to "do evil" but to reject Him? The wicked in the Old Testament are not wicked merely because they do wicked works, but because of their unbelief. the "righteous" in the Psalms and the rest of the Old testament are considered so, not merely because they do good works, but because they believe. The Creed's point is no different than Jesus's. To "do good" is to believe in Christ.

    1. I might echo this observation with Matthew 25:31-46. The creed in not in conflict with the truth of salvation by grace through faith anymore than these words of our Lord.

  15. How convenient, Rev. Beisel, to put your quotation marks around "do good" and "do evil" and to read into them a Johannine understanding that there is only one good work, namely, to trust in Jesus.

    That is not what the Atha. Creed states. It states that to be saved, a person must believe (in the sense of "know," notitia) all of the dogmatic, theological formulations in that Creed and do good works.

    This 9th-c. creed does not teach the gospel clearly and it supports the wrong-headed notion that we are saved by our mental good works, holding the right theological and dogmatic ideas. It assumes a kind of semi-pelagian view of theological knowledge.

    Faith is to be active in love--that is the point of 1 John--but we are not saved by our deeds of love. We are saved through trusting in the promise of the gospel, which trust is itself a gift of the Holy Spirit that is working through the preaching of the gospel.

    If you won't agree with me on this point, will you at least agree that the ending of the Atha. Creed is open to serious misunderstanding? (The same is true, btw, of many Scripture passages that seem to indicate we are saved by doing good moral deeds, ala Matt 25 and Jn 5:29.) Will you agree that we are not saved by the working of our brains to hold firmly to certain intellectual formulations of Christian dogma?

    I don't know about you guys, but I believe that I cannot believe by my own reason or strength.

  16. "If you won't agree with me on this point, will you at least agree that the ending of the Atha. Creed is open to serious misunderstanding? (The same is true, btw, of many Scripture passages that seem to indicate we are saved by doing good moral deeds, ala Matt 25 and Jn 5:29.) Will you agree that we are not saved by the working of our brains to hold firmly to certain intellectual formulations of Christian dogma?

    I don't know about you guys, but I believe that I cannot believe by my own reason or strength."

    I don't think any of us who commented here believe that we are saved by our own "reason or strength." And it is also understood that anything is "open to misunderstanding," including the verses I referenced. Open to misunderstanding, however, does not equate with theological error.

    1. So, DVE, if you agree with Luther that we are not saved by our own reason or strength, then how can you confess that "one cannot be saved without believing firmly and faithfully" certain dogmatic affirmations within the Athanasian Creed," e.g., that "those who have done good will enter eternal life" and "those who have done evil will enter into eternal fire?"

    2. I am confessing that I believe what Jesus said in Matthew 25, which is also echoed and summarized in the Athanasian Creed. This, of course, is not confessed independent of also confessing that Jesus "suffered for our salvation," etc, which I accept by faith. Luther said that this creed "practically amounts to an apology" of the Apostles' Creed. He also stated: "I do not know of any more important document of the New Testament Church since the days of the Apostles [than the Athanasian Creed.] I would think that the Reformer who helped us confess that we are not saved by "our own reason or strength" would also have seen an conflicts with that in this Creed, or why would he have spoken so highly of it?

    3. Luther had respect for the Quicunqua as a liturgical hymn, he thought it had been authored by Athanasius, he respected and confessed its dogmatic formulations, but he also acknowledged how its conclusions could be used by Roman Catholic thinkers in his day to support semi-pelagianism (e.g., the sections in Against Latomus where Luther discusses the ending).

      Luther didn't know that this creed was a 9th-c. document. He considered it authentically Athanasian, so it is not surprising that he would speak highly of it in several places.