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Sunday, February 22, 2015

No, Seriously: The Roman Catholic Church Are Not The Bad Guys In Galatians

Eager young Johnny Baptist is eager to get out there and convert those Catholics! It's not new. The Church is not trembling, waiting for you to appear. I'm sorry to ruin your fun. We really aren't just dazzled by the incense. In obedience to Christ and the Church, we hold that Luther and the others were wrong, gravely wrong. We affirm in full the Council of Trent. Sessions 5-7 are the most relevant. Read it all in those parts. Good times.

You are perfectly free (in a certain sense) to believe they were wrong, but that brings up continuity problems that no one indebted to the Reformation is fully prepared to accept, given that you "don't wan't to throw the baby out with the bathwater," or some such. There's more bathwater than you realized. [Er, baby.--ed.] If Trent is wrong, someone could easily say Nicea was wrong, or Chalcedon. This is what "councils may err" fully implies. I also realize that there is a rhetorical and emotional need to consign Trent to the Evil Middle Ages, that have not yet stretched back to swallow the "pristine" early Church. Actually, that's more than slightly popish, too.

It's a simple change, really: What if Councils may not, and have not erred? I know, crazy. This was essentially the truth that helped me see what the Catholic Church was actually saying. I needed to actually consider that perhaps Luther, Calvin, etc. were not faithful carriers of the tradition (or Tradition, if you like). To simply assert they were is at some point question-begging, in a dispute of this type. The game has changed, when I must justify the existence of my community which was formed in response. What if we are in schism? What if we are holding a heresy to justify it?

I think we had been so comfortable begging the question because prejudice had been so effective that returning seemed like being assimilated into The Borg. What if it isn't so? What if it never was?

What is "the gospel"? What is "The Church"? How sure are you that you know?

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