The title of this post comes from the phrase in Scott and Kimberly Hahn’s book which sorta made me laugh out loud. As you know, we are reading this book, my wife and I, during our Lenten fast this year. Why? Well, some of us have a real negative view of Rome and Catholics, so I have decided to absorb some of that violent rhetoric and in some way maybe perform a little penance for all of those times I have spoken about Rome without knowing exactly what I was talking about.
This fourth chapter deals with Hahn’s continued (re)searching about his favorite subject, the Covenant. He is led along the path and made to address some of his anti-Catholic views. You know, there is a different between being Protestant and being anti-Catholic. Scott was anti-Catholic.
Of course, some of this made me stop. His move to weekly communion was one of those times. For me, this is preferred. I do get excited about the sacraments, actually, and find that the two given to us mean more to me today than they did yesterday. This leads me to the second slap, the one on page 48. For all intents and purposes, I stopped breathing. I coughed a bit. It sort of describes what I talk about on some days, when I am not talking about rhetoric. It was when Kimberly told Scott that all he spoke about was ‘sacraments, liturgy, typology and the Eucharist.’ Yeah, I get that too. I also like to focus on the Covenant.
And, one more thing which led to a discussion between my wife and I, about sola scripture. The moment you hold a bible in your hands, you validate Tradition. You get that, right? The point is, is that Tradition led to the assembling of the books, minutely and corporately. It led to the assembly of the canon. If you don’t think so, what canon are you hold? How many books? What about your Old Testament? How does it differ from the Jewish or other canons out there and what is the theological statements made by this canonical arrangement? When you come to realize that so much of Christian doctrine is bound up on Tradition, you cannot easy hold to sola scriptura as you did before and when you realize this, you can no longer be as anti-Catholic as you were before, at least your stance cannot be that they have expanded doctrine away from Scripture. If you study the text, you’ll see that often times, the most cherished doctrines were only seeds in the New Testament and only later brought out, progressed and instituted by Tradition.
I did find it interesting his struggle with this issue. Sola Scriptura is in of itself a Tradition.
But, equally so, one cannot and must not abandoned the fact that Scripture is first and primary in the foundation of our doctrine. So too reason and experience and yes, even Tradition. You know, the Wesley Quadrilateral.
You and I both know how this is going to turn out, but it is interesting to watch it unfold. So far, I agree with him. I do think that he is grappling with issues that many do, and all should. Doesn’t mean, Jeremy, that in the end, when you grapple with them, that I will end up Catholic – you might end up Methodist – but at the very least, we should be less anti-Catholic and more willing to grapple with the fact that Tradition plays a large part in the development of Christian Doctrine and Practice.