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Monday, September 27, 2010

I published some snark in the general direction of Baptists in my "Historic Church Documents" post/rant, whereupon it was contested quite ably and respectfully by J. Patrick Smith, a cousin of "Tbone," which makes him a friend of the blog covenantally speaking :) as any good paedobaptist would do. We'll see if he wants to make the association his own later on. :) In any case, I thought his illustration in the comments was a good one, and framed it in a new way for me. But this provides a delightful segue into another problem introduced by the comment: the appeal to Sola Scriptura. Given the fact that A) both (Protestant) paedobaptists and credobaptists affirm Sola Scriptura (and its necessary corollaries of inspiration and infalliability/inerrancy, and B) both have Scriptural justification for their positions, tell me, who is right? Forget baptism; pick anything you want. Same problem: No obvious means for settling disputes, and no path for eventual visible reunion in the joyous event such disagreements are resolved. Still waiting on Keith Mathison's response in writing to this. On the other hand, I don't know why I should accept the Catholic hierarchy and doctrines as God's appointed answer to the thorny problems. Though admittedly, it is a very alluring answer. No, the worst part of Sola Scriptura is that I could assume complete benevolence on the part of everyone involved in the process (not a good idea anyway) and we would still seemingly be unable to maintain real (read: visible) ecclesial unity, or know when we had come upon the most significant doctrines, contrasted with the less significant. We may share many or most in common if we made a list. But we may well differ. Then what? [Baptism Side-Rant: For instance, I no longer contest the idea that Christian Trinitarian baptism forgives sins. Luther, Calvin, and the Catholic Church all agree, shockingly enough. [People leaving] Yeah, well, read the Bible. You may object that this makes salvation's gate guarded by a thing that can (and often is, many say) be divorced from Christ who saved us. And my only answer is a question: Why are you so opposed to God mediating his own grace and love through material things that you turn the extraordinary acontextual mercy of God into the normative? In practical experience, the people most opposed to so-called "baptismal regeneration" are those who have refused baptism for some dumb reason or other. In short, if you believe Jesus is the Son of God who saves you from your sins by his atoning death and resurrection, just do it. You don't have to understand how it works.] We're often in the business of agreeing on "the essentials" without saying what those essentials are. This is also why "creedal minimalism" fails; Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants mean very different things when confessing the creeds re: the Church, so it can't unify us (completely) unless somebody bends.

1 comment:

J. Patrick Smith said...

I would love to be a "friend of the blog," but must admit that the last time I saw my cousin was back in the 1970s when I was a child. I barely remember him as anything more then stories passed on to me by my parents. My age was closer to his children.

I do remember that visit. My father used to wear an old hat that he got when he was stationed in Thailand during vietnam... it was a camoflage military issue hat with numerous patches sewn into it. He called it his "fishing hat."

When we arrived at my cousin Tommy's house, I remember him taking the hat off and hiding it. I was probably about 4 at the time, and asked my dad why he wasn't wearing the hat into my cousin's house. My dad told me, "because if I did, your cousin Tommy would probably kick me out faster then you can whistle." In fact, I think that may have been the last time I saw my dad wearing that hat.

For years, I assumed that my cousin Tommy had a hatred for fishing. Then, many years later while I was rifling through my parent's hall closet, I managed to find the hat and read what was written, in explicit language, on all those patches sewn onto it. Things make a lot more sense once you learn how to read.