I don’t want to draw any conclusions, but…
Unsettled ChristianityOne blog to rule them all, One blog to find them, One blog to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
My friend said he realized “I can be a Protestant or a Christian, but I could not be both anymore.” The mood of skeptical corrosion that ate away at all the rest of the Catholic and apostolic deposit of faith reaches, finally, the sacred book the Church proclaims at her liturgies and the Bible-only Protestant faces a stark choice: he can do like my friend and acknowledge the fundamental blunder of using the Bible as a weapon against the community that wrote, edited, and collated it—or he can do like Ehrman and deconstruct the Bible as well, in the process destroying his faith and collecting his 30 pieces of silver and bravely facing the applause of the MSM.
There is not such a strong dichotomy as Shea suggests, or at least that is what I tell myself as I ponder Petrine primacy, the mystery of the rosary, and the role Mary has been afforded.
The issue, of course, is not that Santorum believes this, but that so many actually do. Rick is what we may call a fundamentalist Catholic… I wonder if he likes Vatican II. Anyway, the Presidential candidate made a statement yesterday as to the idea that political agendas and policies should be dictated by Scripture:
Obama’s agenda is “not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your jobs. It’s about some phony ideal. Some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology,” Santorum told supporters of the conservative Tea Party movement at a Columbus hotel. (here)
Santorum has established himself a judge of what Christianity means, of course. I have to admit, however, that I admire him for being consistent in this regard. He simply seems to disregard anyone who is not of his stripe of Christianity (very conservative Roman Catholic), as being part of Christianity. In 2008, he made a statement about Mainline Christianity,
And so what we saw this domino effect, once the colleges fell and those who were being education in our institutions, the next was the church. Now you’d say, ‘wait, the Catholic Church’? No. We all know that this country was founded on a Judeo-Christian ethic but the Judeo-Christian ethic was a Protestant Judeo-Christian ethic, sure the Catholics had some influence, but this was a Protestant country and the Protestant ethic, mainstream, mainline Protestantism, and of course we look at the shape of mainline Protestantism in this country and it is in shambles, it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it. So they attacked mainline Protestantism, they attacked the Church, and what better way to go after smart people who also believe they’re pious to use both vanity and pride to also go after the Church. (here)
It is the same cry told by others, especially the Evangelicals.
Man, this is going to be awesome if he is the nominee…
HT Dr. Cargill and Christian
- Rick Santorum Thinks Satan Has Taken Over America (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Santorum Excommunicates 45 Million Christians: Mainline Protestants Are ‘Gone From The World Of Christianity’ (thinkprogress.org)
- Rick Santorum Declares Jihad on Atheists, Agnostics, Presbyterians, Buddhists, Muslims, Wiccans, Members of the Dutch Reformed Church, Congregationalists, Asatru, Mithraists, and Lutherans! (delong.typepad.com)
- Santorum In 2008: Protestantism Left ‘World Of Christianity’ (huffingtonpost.com)
The “abnormal” spread of Christianity across China is a threat to the Communist Party rule and social stability, a paper prepared by a top party academic warns.
Ma Hucheng, an adviser on religion to the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party, warns that the government’s attempt to control Church growth through the Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) — the state sanctioned Protestant church — is failing.
“If we are unable to hold the line here, this will damage our independent foreign policy and cause the government to lose control of religion in accordance with the law, and make Christianity once again a political and spiritual tool of control for the West, and make Christianity [in China] a pawn of the Western church,” Ma said, according to a translation of his paper, An Analysis of the Reasons for Rapid Growth of the Protestant Church in Today’s China, prepared by OMF International’s Director of China Research, Tony Lambert. (originally published in the Church of England’s newspaper, but you can read it here now.)
Wonder if it will turn into another Diocletian event?
Let us pray that the Chinese Christians succeed…
- Police arrests Shouwang Church members, talks theology with them (onecatholicnews.wordpress.com)
- EWTN series, “Saints of China”, offers personal view of Catholicism, Catholic saints in China (insightscoop.typepad.com)
- Protestants fear restrictions with the new Kazakh law on religious freedom (onecatholicnews.wordpress.com)
A moment’s reflection on Protestant practice should demonstrate the truth of this. Every time a Protestant minister takes a commentary off his shelf to help with sermon preparation, or opens a volume of systematic theology, or attends a lecture on a theological topic, he practically acknowledges the importance of T1, whether he cares to admit it or no. A belief in scripture as a unique and all-sufficient cognitive foundation for theology does not, indeed, cannot, preclude the use of extra-biblical and thus traditional sources for help.
So, that’s a good point, but to say that only Protestant Tradition is somehow justified and that Catholicism is not, because one reveals Scripture and the other is not, is not the most objective thing to state.
Trueman defends Protestant Tradition with a reference to Luther, whom I am assured would seek to redefine his doctrine of plain sense after looking at his children, grand-children, nieces and nephews, and red-headed step children:
The difference on tradition, of course, connects to other differences on authority. Undergirding Protestant notions of scripture is a belief in the basic perspicuity of the Christian message. This lay at the heart of Luther’s dispute with Erasmus. Erasmus saw scripture as complicated and obscure and thus as requiring the teaching magisterium of the church to give definitive explanations of what it teaches; Luther saw the basic message as clear and accessible to all who had eyes to see and ears to hear.
I do think that the idea of Salvation is easily seen – unless you are Augustine, Barth, Willimon, Wright, Zwingli, Calvin, Luther, or the host of others who have sought to re-identify salvation. But, I do think that the basic commands and commendation to salvation are easy to be seen, but other doctrines, and other things, aren’t. That’s why we have more than just the Lutherans and Rome. Because people continue to see something new, or something more ‘easily seen.’ I’m just not sure I would defend Protestantism based on the Luther’s doctrine here.
Something else which Trueman states, something that has bothered me for a while since I first saw a platform with the Table center,
While Catholics have always had preaching, they focus on the Mass; while Protestants have always had sacraments, they focus on the reading and preaching of the Word.
I agree with Rome here, that the preacher is not central. If the Table represents Christ, either literally or metaphorically, then why isn’t it front and center, removing either the man or the woman from that position? From what I have seen, in ancient churches, it was the Table which was the center piece. We have, in a way, removed Christ from the focus of the Church, when we seek to impost a man, albeit a preacher or a prophet, before the Table.
I’m not saying that Trueman is overly wrong, even though he is quoted by the Gospel Coalition. I am saying that I disagree with him on a few issues.
“Whereas the western church, including Protestantism, has focused more narrowly on the sacrifice of Christ and the problem of justification, the eastern church has concentrated on the creation, the incarnation, and the resurrection. Atonement and justification are also important, but they are intermediate steps along the way. They are a means to an end.”
Actually, I’ve noticed a few Methodists doing the same thing – for the same reason.
The EOC is also Christus Victor…
Anyway, good article.
Well apparently someone else thinks he understands Roman Catholicism without reading Church documents. If he had taken time to read even this one document, he wouldn’t sound so off-base. It is on the Vatican website, no less. For another helpful interaction with this issue, see Raymond Brown’s (a pope appointed member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission more than once) wonderful book The Critical Meaning of the Bible. The document explains how theologians should handle matters in which they disagree with the Magisterium. For those who might not like to read the whole thing, I’ll summarize a few points:
1. Theologians who disagree with the Magisterium should not present their views as unarguable conclusions. In other words, they admit to the fact that they could possibly be wrong and the Magisterium right.
2. Disagreements must be based on argumentation that seems well-founded to the theologian. In other words, theologians cannot reject the teaching of the Magisterium simply because it doesn’t suit them.
3. Theologians should make sure that they truly understand the teaching of the Magisterium. In other words, they are not disagreeing with a misunderstanding of the teachings of the Magisterium.
4. Theologians should address disagreements in the proper context, i.e. within the Church and not within the mass media.
5. If the disagreement persists (and yes, the document does allow for the fact that a disagreement can genuinely persist), the theologian remains open to the teaching of the Magisterium, though they may not accept it.
Perhaps this is not pure unbridled freedom of Protestant scholarship (*chortle*), but at least for me as a Roman Catholic, I find it helpful that there is official Church teaching on how to handle disagreements, rather than approach I’ve seen some Protestants in my area use of simply starting a new church. There are other important points in this document. But, this may suffice to show that the person who wrote the post I linked to has a very weak and inaccurate understanding of the function of the Magisterium – “For example, if a Roman Catholic is interpreting the Scriptures, he must come to conclusions that are in line with what Rome has already said about the subject.” Well, not according to this document on the Vatican website (overseen by Joseph Ratzinger back in the 1990s).
PS – This is not even to mention the fact that the Church doesn’t emphatically define every single solitary doctrinal issue, e.g. priestly celibacy in the Latin Rite and married priests at the parish level in the Eastern Rite.
This past weekend, we saw a bunch of post-protestant/evangelicals who are more appropriately called the Third Wave, neo-pentecostal, dominionists, etc… hold a meeting called The Response. Recently, we have seen Evangelicals flock to people such as Glenn Beck who was given a national, prophetic, stage and heralded as ‘saved!’
On the horizon is the Kingdom Theology, in which we are coming to realize what it means to be apart of God’s Kingdom. So, that got me to thinking about what Protestants need in order to save itself from abhorrent and heretical theologies, neo-Messiahs, and the like wherein every wind of doctrine moves them to this or that point.
Christ is our King, but it seems that many of us live pretty close to the edges of that Kingdom, near the border areas which prevents us from attack by the monsters who hide in the Forests of Paganism, but allows us some measure of independence because, after all, the King is far, far away. So, this is what I am thinking. We need a representative of the King, on earth, where we are.
Now, this King needs to help us pull our theology out of the disease-causing muck and mire like Bishop Gregory the Great did for the City of Rome. He and the Church there saved the city, and indeed, one would argue, Western Civilization, from peril. He revitalized the priesthood and the drama of worship. He was well deserving of this title applied to him by history. We need a figure such as he would be willing to flush out the idols of bad theology, such as that which has given rise to the Response, and cause Protestants to realize that they are Christians first, and only divided by whatever potentate’s imaginary lines are drawn around their neighbor..that there is no such thing as a “Christian nation” who doesn’t have Christ as its King. I imagine that over time, this figure would become a great father figure, and one who is given charge for all the bad things that will happen in the church, but in the end, history will judge this “slow moving” person as worthy of honor due to his ability to stave off the ebbs and flows of history which has caused us get to this point in Protestant theology. No doubt, theology will change over time, with new scholarship and moves of the Spirit to increase our understanding, but this representative of Christ on Earth will be able to withstand it, fighting it as Jacob did, until just the last moment, when all things have been proved true, and all things of the past have been purged. That’s when change needs to occur, not like Protestant theology today, which seemingly changes with a new Christian book makes its way to the number one spot in book sales. And no doubt, that this representative could hold the various groups of Protestants, orders or schools we might call them then, together without the constant mudslinging and infighting currently in Protestantism.
I think that’s what Protestantism needs, an vicar of Christ the King on Earth, sitting on the Chair of an Apostle… we can worry about the title later I guess. But, most importantly, like a shepherd and a father, he has to protect us from the inane theologies which spring up every other day.
- I owe an enormous debt to evangelical Protestantism. So why did I become Catholic? Here’s why.. (whyimcatholic.com)
- What is an evangelical? (breadandsham.wordpress.com)
- Van Til and Natural Theology (godshammer.wordpress.com)
- An Evangelical Disproves Evangelicalism (catholicdefense.blogspot.com)
- 9.5 Theses on the Emergent Church (geneveith.com)
This morning I was reading in Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. I read Kaiser’s chapter on the single referent view. It seemed that part of his problem with the sensus plenior approach was that it was formulated by Catholic scholars and that it only would only work within a Catholic context. He states:
Since (Raymond) Brown takes it (meaning) out of the hands of the human authors who stood in the counsel of God, the question is: In whose hands now does the final court of appeal rest for discovering the authoritative meaning of a biblical text? Roman Catholic scholars, of course, can fall back on the magisterium of the church, to the ecclesial tradition. But to what can Protestants appeal that matches such additional grounds of appeal?
I wondered if maybe I was reading a bit much into this to take offense, but it’s almost as if he’s saying that something like the sensus plenior approach couldn’t possibly be correct because it emerged in a Catholic context and could only work in a Catholic context. But, I was glad to see I was not alone because Peter Enns calls him out for this in his response to Kaiser’s essay. He states:
Kaiser’s discussion of sensus plenior is likewise problematic. By citing Roman Catholic scholar Raymond Brown, Kaiser seems to be using guilt by association to undermine sensus plenior. Brown is able to take meaning “out of the hands of human authors who stood in the counsel of God” because Brown’s Catholicism has an ecclesiastical tradition that allows him to treat scripture so shabbily. I am no Catholic, but I was a bit offended by such a caricature, since Protestant scholarship owes so much to the careful nuanced work of Roman Catholic scholars. Moreover, it is somewhat beside the point to portray Roman Catholics as manipulating the meaning of scripture so casually. The real hermeneutical issues before, generated as they are by the NT evidence itself, will not be settled by such rhetoric.
Kudos to Peter Enns (who actually has an excerpt from Divino Afflante Spiritu on his blog). I’m quite certain I could not have said that better myself. I have appreciated the work of Enns for quite some time on account of this kind of clarity of thought. I’m not saying that I personally agree with the sensus plenior approach, but it really doesn’t matter one way or another where it came from or in what context it might work. What matters is how the NT authors themselves actually treated the Old Testament. In fact, I think this is the gist of Enns’ critique of Kaiser, namely he doesn’t really deal with the raw data of the New Testament.
I suspect that some will have a lot to say about this later, but I found this story interesting (ht) in which a charismatic Protestant converted to Catholicism because of a Revelation regarding the Eucharist:
I am Tim Bogan a former protestant healing evangelist that has converted to Catholicism, because of the Eucharist. While ministering in a Fire of Faith Revival in Greenville, IL the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the meaning of John Chapter 6. The next morning, which was the last time I have spoken as a protestant minister, I preached on my revelation of the Eucharist. So, for those that have not heard my full testimony I invite you to listen and let it increase your Catholic Faith!
I gave this testimony at Our Lady of Prompt Succor in Chauvin, LA on March 2011.
You can find and listen to it here.
I have to say that my view on the Eucharist is pretty high, but I don’t know if it is high enough to make me convert.
- Eating the Flesh of the Messiah: The Feast of Corpus Christi (frstephensmuts.wordpress.com)
- Corpus Christi – June 26, 2011 (gloriaque.wordpress.com)
- Pope: In the Eucharist the “cause” of communion with Jesus is humanity (onecatholicnews.wordpress.com)