Thursday, May 18, 2017

Michael Horton Has Nothing To Offer Us

When we talk about authority in matters of religion, we are talking about divine infallibility, that is, God's communications are marked by that quality of His perfection, and to communicate things about Himself that would not otherwise be known.

Contrary to the imaginings of Dr. Horton and other Reformed counter-apologists, submission to the Magisterium of the Church  is not a new answer to a new problem. The very reason why Newman could speak of an "onus probandi" is that the Church pre-dated the new methodology of Sola Scriptura, and the new doctrines which were its fruit.

It is not an emotional need for an unreasonable certainty, but that quality of communication that distinguishes God's word from that of mere men. Indeed, Horton can't and doesn't relieve that burden by re-proposing Sola Scriptura; he simply trades ecclesial infallibility for alleged personal infallibility. It's the practical fruit of the beloved Noltie Conundrum as a uniquely Protestant dilemma that brings the Reformation paradigm into question. The particular dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church do not bear on the question of certainty as such.

What Dr. Horton sees as some kind of epistemological humility, to soldier on in spite of difficulties, to say the least, is actually ignorance. No Christian should be content with ignorance of his highest end.


Nathan said...

I've been thinking lately that underneath all of this, both from the Catholic and Protestant perspectives, lies an underexamined need for systematic explanations, when faith consists rather of knowing whom we should obey and what we, personally, should do. Both groups are seeking certainty about doctrines on different epistemic grounds. Why do we need it at all? The faith of the patriarchs, apostles, and fathers seems to be centered on obedience rather than certainty. Likewise, why not sidestep the authority question and say the highest authority in the church is neither scripture nor any bishop, but the risen and very much present Jesus himself?

Jason said...

Sounds good, but where is the Church?