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Showing posts from September 15, 2013

Sacramental Efficacy, Reformation, And The Search For Truth

I'll get right to it: Right at the point where someone says, "The sacraments are intrinsically efficacious," this is exactly the point where you walk out of the Reformation. Because apostolic succession is the only way to assure this, within the theological paradigm where that's important. Obviously, you could say, the sacraments are conditionally efficacious, depending on the faithful reception of the word preached, by faith alone, blah, blah, blah. In other words, the Reformers felt they could separate from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church precisely because they denied the theological significance of apostolic succession as a guarantor of sacramental efficacy. That's why the perspicuity (clarity in an absolute sense) of Scripture goes right along with Sola Scriptura. Put it together, think like a Protestant: "Look fellas, we don't need this hierarchy, because the Scripture is clear, and your doctrines are false, anyway. Because [long litany of Bibl

Really? That's What You're Going With?

Consider this quotation: "...all true liturgy is verbal, not visual. Nowhere does the Bible command acts of obeisance before any manmade object. The Bible never shows anyone rightly doing such a thing. The Bible expressly forbids it, and threatens a great curse on those who do it. Because of this, the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Anglo-Catholic churches are not liturgical churches; they are anti-liturgical." -- James B. Jordan Some of you don't know who James B. Jordan is. Well, I don't know who he is, either. But I do know he's at the forefront of what has been called the "Federal Vision" movement. It's hard to summarize, but in very general terms, it characterizes a theological outlook that uses the biblical theology--centered on the notion of covenant--to argue for objective sacraments, and a much more ecclesial worldview than is common among some Reformed. Baptismal regeneration, paedo-communion (communion to infants and very small ch

Things To Remember

If you write things long enough, you may actually say something that you remember, that others remember, something that's worth grasping. Today, I woke up with this in my head: "The fundamental posture of any person in the sphere of revealed religion is that of a receiver." It's mine, but like anything, it's cobbled together from who knows what that I have read or heard. (Almost on command, my mind goes to a philosophical teaching--maybe St. Thomas?--"That which is received is received according to the mode of the receiver." I digress.) That first idea is that desire to be simply a creature in humble submission to God. When someone says, "You have no principled way to distinguish between revelation and human opinion,"--whether that claim is true or not--he's laying a very serious charge at your feet. He's saying that, in your system, there is no way to take one's fundamental posture toward God. It goes right along with the fundame

5 Thoughts For Today

5. I'm not opposed to American exceptionalism, per se. It just seems like we feel superior about all the wrong things. 4. Barry Manilow didn't want to go on 'The View' because of Elizabeth Hasselbeck and her pro-life views. That's just stupid. Should I not go on the show because the others haven't said one true thing about really anything in the entire history of the show? 3. It's "dangerous" to believe that killing your child yet born is morally wrong? Stop and think about that before you talk again, Barry. 2. The tragedy is not that people bring morality into politics. The tragedy is that everything is political; morality itself is left at the whims of majoritarian consensus. 1. From the "It's obvious if you're nerdy" Department: It is clear that euthanasia is morally wrong. Euthanasia refers to the intentional killing of another person, or of oneself, in order to ease suffering. Indeed, the word means, "good death.

How Did You Feel?

I did a lot of thinking and arguing and praying in looking into the Catholic Church, and of course, reading. As a conscious choice, I did my best to ignore how I felt during that time. I'm a feelings person; when I speak and write, you get my heart first. If you want to get me to do something, move me. It's just who I am. So I did my best to correct for this. I couldn't actually become a Catholic until the truths converged; I had to reason it out, because I did not trust my feelings, though I have always greatly valued them. So what was it like emotionally? First, let me say it was hard. I felt like I belonged nowhere. I felt as though my mind had brought questions to me that demanded answers. They were simple questions, but I realized that I'd not asked them. Also, whatever slice of the Reformed world I was in, others had not asked them, either. But how did I ask questions alien to my theology? I don't know. Why were these questions so demanding, the kind that re

5 Thoughts For Today

5. The fuel of feminism's lust for power is a similar male domination, and, well, lust. In other words, my brothers, there are feminists because we have failed to be the kind of men who earn the deference that is not humiliating, but empowering. 4. Yet that is no easy cosmetic, cultural fix. And political leaders get tarred as "anti-woman" when fighting against feminism's false premises precisely because they don't show concern for the innumerable crimes against women that make feminism an appealing political outlet. 3. Blogging strategy in general: Just talk about stuff in your Facebook News Feed that smarter, cooler people find interesting. 2. Bob Newhart just won an Emmy now? Are you kidding? Look, I wasn't here in the '70s, and I haven't seen all that many episodes of The Bob Newhart Show, because I'm already a bum who watches too much TV. But I know funny. That dude is funny. He's never not funny, from what I've seen. Hollywood:

Be 'Impractical.' Be Curious. For The Sake Of The Good.

I just saw one of those internet memes. They're often funny. This one? Not quite. It was a woman saying, "Yet another day passes, and I did not use algebra once. Very interesting." You know what? Who cares if something is useful? Is it good? Learn it. Do it. I'd venture to say we've had quite enough input from the Useful Brigade. It's not practical or useful to hire a secretary over a computer. It's not practical or useful to have a baby with Down Syndrome. You get the picture. Maybe I was wrong about public radio and TV. What good is efficiency, when we are callous, crude, and stupid? My thoughts for the day.

What He Said. A Million Times.

Once again, a dispatch from the "Why is this not obvious?" Department. I guess it's cool to be a "conservative" Catholic (whatever that means) and say, "Pope Francis? Meh." Me? I love him. Entirely. Completely. He would have to get a serious case of the Borgias before I changed my mind. Sorry. Convert joke. Anyway, seriously. He should dress up like Billy Graham for Halloween. Because he has "Jesus Loves You!" pouring out his eyeballs. Tell me you wouldn't donate some serious bacon or cabbage or whatever you want to call it to make this happen. The man is nearly 80 years old, and he looks like he just played in the Little League World Series. That's charity, my friends. Some incorruptible nuns just called and said, "Yep. True story." Who would you rather have talking to your atheist friends? The dude who always looks like he just won a tight game of 'Settlers' and is trying not to gloat, or the guy who's alw