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Saturday, September 06, 2014

"Councils May Err" Is Not Catholic, And It Never Was

This particular contention goes right to the heart of the difference between Catholics and Protestants. This is why Luther was pressed on this very point. An erring Council means an erring Church, and an erring Church in matters of dogma flat-out falsifies what Christ himself promised.

Is the Church full of sinners? Yes. Does the Church sin? No. When people sin gravely, they cut themselves off from the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit. He protects the Church, and most importantly, guides the Church into a deeper understanding of the deposit of faith she guards.

I hope you realize that if this principle that (ecumenical) Councils may err were applied consistently, there is no reason to suppose that Nicea or Chalcedon is correct. That you do suppose them correct is an ad hoc appeal to Sacred Tradition.

I hate it when that happens.

A Dispatch From The Comments

"Luther was moved to imputed righteousness by his reading (and teaching) of Romans, not an attempt to prove the church wrong. The church then declared him a heretic for it. At first, it appears, Luther expected the church to agree with him."

It is not reasonable to assume the Church would agree with imputed righteousness, because it cannot. A view of soteriological participation had always been taught. The reading and teaching of the Sacred Scriptures always takes place fruitfully within Sacred Tradition, and thus, all interpretations are subject to revision and correction by it.

To prefer one's own interpretation, especially when it obviously conflicts with the deposit of faith, is heretical, and is justly judged so.

5 Less Cryptic Thoughts For Today

5. Replace a grandiose plan with an "Our Father" once in a while.

4. And a "Hail, Mary!"

3. And not the football kind.

2. I like football well enough, but it doesn't matter like baseball does.

1. Done with Newman's essay on development. Now where do I want my (meta) essay to go?

Friday, September 05, 2014

5 Thoughts For Tonight

5. It seemed like a great idea at the time, actually.

4. Hmmm...

3. Um, yeah...

2. As smooth as a plane ride through a typhoon.

1. Oh, look, a squirrel!

Listen To Cardinal Burke

It's not difficult to understand. It's a little harder to live out, but we all have our things. If we didn't, there'd be no merit, no courage, and no overcoming. You don't think I never want to throw up my hands and say, "Boys will be boys"? Don't kid yourself. The only difference between you and me is that my predilections are more socially acceptable.

This is where we have a chance to be true "allies" instead of enablers. We say, "Look, the world, the flesh, and the devil are real, and we can fight them together." People aren't lepers; most of the time, people just need to know that they are human, and that because of this, there's a better way.

It's all about one question: "What is my true happiness?" Would you walk through fire to get it? Would you take an easier way? How's that working out?

Sts. Felicity and Perpetua, pray for us!

God Did Act First, But R.C Sproul Is Still Wrong

We agree that man is not able to save himself. Were he not affected by the Fall, he'd still need grace to attain communion with God. Don't miss that part. But it's not some fantastic insight that God must move, or no one would be saved. Sorry. It's just not.

It's a big jump from this to "God does everything" and "God only saves some people". What's the point of the gospel, then? No, seriously. Why are you a minister in the first place? You could just sit back and watch it happen. That's what "monergism" is, you know. Only one working. If you have the guts to bite the bullet, then bite it. But I don't blame anyone for not buying what you're selling.

This emotional blackmail of, "Oh, that's just your pride talking" is precisely what it is. If God alone works in salvation, then God alone is morally responsible for the bad outcome. No, he doesn't owe salvation to any man, but Christ has come as Savior. We don't need play-acts of "mercy" for a special few; we need grace and salvation.

I'm willing to look into the eyes of every single person and say, "Jesus Christ died for you." It's not a hypothetical; it's real. Before we embrace what isn't true good news anyway, maybe we should ask, "Who asked Luther and Calvin, anyway?" I'd like to believe that this question would occur to the inquisitive person, but then, I was in the bubble once, too.

His Patience And My Impatience

There are times when you don't feel much like a worshiper, because some want or desire wells up and overwhelms your thoughts. Yet a loving Lord will not spurn His own. As it is written, "Cast all your cares on Him, for he cares for you."

It is a great thing to yearn, but feel no disquiet. It is a happy thing to know joy, though trouble swirls about. I am doing as well as I could hope, because I stand in the grace of God. Who will bring a charge against God's elect? Who is greater than His mercy?

He said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you." I try to remember this. I also sense a desire to remain with Him, or that he would remain with us. I don't even want to hold back this desire.

Good Friday is the day He died for us, but it's also the day when he goes away, commemorating his time in the abode of the dead, when he preached to the just of Israel who had fallen asleep. Friday and Saturday of Holy Week (until the Easter Vigil) are most painful! Stay with us, Lord!

The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

I've Seen This Movie Before

When things go poorly, it reveals who we are, at bottom. In Genesis 22:1, the Scripture says, "And God tested Abraham." Some test! But the beauty is, by the time the children of Israel heard it, they knew he'd passed the test, because they were the product.

In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Lt. Saavik objects to the no-win scenario of the Kobayashi Maru test as an unfair test of her command abilities. Admiral Kirk replies, "There's no correct resolution; it's a test of character." Perhaps all of the life of faith is a series of Kobayashi Maru tests, where God brings us well past the limits of our "command abilities" in order to know the genuineness of our love. This is where you find out whether the faith you profess is worth anything.

Christ has already shown us in the shape of His cross that in the Kingdom, you win by losing. He said, "Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Today is as good a day as any to practice loving surrender.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Love Is The Beginning

God is Love. Let this not be doubted or questioned. There are tons of people who simply cannot believe this, no matter how much God says it. That's a special pride, but I don't think it's the most common.

Much more common is presumption, as if God owes us salvation. "God is Love" is a slogan, and it covers anything; weakness is one thing; impunity is quite another.

In my experience, if I still call my faults sins if that's what they are, I don't worry, even if I have to drink from the fount of mercy a billion times. The worst place to be is at peace with sin; the person at peace with sin doesn't go to Confession, because his conscience isn't pricked.

The Reformers had a conflicted relationship with this bilateral relationship at best, so the position hardened to "faith alone" and imputed righteousness, because it had to. Anything less would be a concession that the Church was right, at the least in jurisdiction.

Let's cut the mess: the antinomian position is more logically consistent with imputed righteousness. This is why David Platt can hector people until he's blue in the face, and in the end, it won't matter. They'll mutter something about how he "lacks grace" or some such, and the argument begins again.

The only system where such an ethic makes sense is in the Catholic Church. Whether you tremble for no good reason, or you need to tremble, there's an app for that.

5 Thoughts For Today

5. Someone tell Luke Bryan to quit falling off the stage. Honestly.

4. I hope it's not neurological.

3. He falls more than Bob Dole.

2. Cards win again. "Yankees in plucky, Midwestern disguise" Mode.

1. Because I'm JK, that's why!

Nope, Reformed Pastor Guy, Human Nature Is Good

And you're screwing people up teaching them otherwise. If human nature were fundamentally bad, Jesus could not be our Savior. He would have assumed a bad nature.

You have over-stated the effect of the Fall, mostly to serve Luther and Calvin's highly tendentious claims about salvation (which kind of beg the question anyway).

Which is not to say we're not sinners, by the way. But even a good human nature completely unaffected by the Fall would need grace to reach friendship with God, a point shockingly missed by those closet Pelagians you are following.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Dare You Not To Laugh

At this. Thanks, Deb.

Mark Shea Is Kind Of Annoying, But...

He's got a point. You could do a lot of things: cut the payroll tax, increase the Earned Income Tax Credit, pay people to get married and have kids, etc. See, I don't think pro-growth and pro-people have to be at odds. Sarah Palin was the one who entered "crony capitalist" into the national conversation; USE IT! More importantly, believe that free markets do not equate to "profit at all costs."

Would you back an increase in the minimum wage in exchange for rigorous federal safety inspections of all abortion clinics? I know I would. Watch the Democrats betray their own constituencies to defend their "sacrament."

I think the opportunity is there to be the kind of "liberals" they never were. Will the Republicans allow racism or other petty motivations stop them from doing the right things? And of course, winning?