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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

5 Thoughts For Today

5. No, really. We actually think the Council of Trent was correct.

4. That's what Ecumenical Councils do; it's a Holy Spirit thing.

3. Actually, I love the Council of Trent. That's not just popish cheerleading, mind you. Certain things about about participation in a theological sense would be much hazier without it.

2. What sort of brass ones do you have to have to say that an Ecumenical Council was wrong? I never even realized how crazy this suggestion was. Or, you could just call God unfaithful. Same difference.

1. Nothin' like sittin' down with Pastor Challies and enjoying a nice, cool glass of begging the question.

[Vaguely Biographical Love-Rant] I can remember when I started to see the differences between the paradigms of Protestants and Catholics. Every time someone Reformed would stake out a different position than the Catholic Church, I could appreciate that; after all, if you thought it was correct, you'd go with it. It's your heritage. But I couldn't simply do that, because the truth of the Reformed position--more precisely, its status as the correct Christian position on faith and morals--could not be assumed when it is in dispute. I could see all history opening before me; if I could go back to the pivotal moments in history, to the formation of the Lutheran communities, or the Reformed, what if I were just an observer? What if I had no idea what the true doctrine of Christ was? I would have to be very open and careful; I would have to allow each man to say why I should follow him in the cause of Christ. To be perfectly frank, I don't think most people in the Reformed world are ready to do this. They have never allowed the possibility that what they take for granted as obviously true is not. Boy, if you've heard "You are more sinful than you can imagine, but you can be loved and accepted in Christ than you ever dared to hope"--if imputation is the gospel--you have almost no chance of giving the Catholic Church a fair hearing. None. Sola Scriptura and an invisible Church go together; if I had not personally witnessed the failure of both concepts to give any doctrinal and moral coherence to the practice of Christianity, I would not have looked into the matter. But I had to; I was not going to be an ambassador for Jesus Christ, the only hope of humanity, without knowing what we are to believe, and why.

All the realizations and clever quips of mine on the blog these past three years were all there, lurking in my heart, ready to be realized. "Derivative authority is a sham." That's what hit me first; if all doctrinal decisions are subject to revision by Scripture allegedly, then the interpreter of Scripture takes on a great importance. But I was not the first to inquire of God and his word, (Word) so the origin and truth of the doctrine I was taught is also very important. "One cannot be both the arbiter of divine revelation, and a humble receiver of it at the same time." Sola Scriptura violates this outright, even when tempered by a putative mooring to an "historic" community. Couple this with the lack of a mechanism within those communities for discerning unchanging dogma, and sheesh, no wonder people seek communion with the Catholic Church! O Lord, what have you said, and to whom have you said it?" Or rather, to whom have you entrusted your good news that is for the salvation of the world? I remain joyfully obsessed with this question, and I want others to be, also.


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