Saturday, November 16, 2013

5 Thoughts For Today

5. "Scandal" is a great show. [You're only saying that because Kerry Washington is hot.--ed.] Not so. It never hurts, though.

4. Note to Shonda Rimes: I will watch whatever you create, at this point.

3. Kettinger Brothers Approved Chili, for the win!

2. Can we officially say that the ideologue academic, who spent too much time reading books about problems instead of solving them, is in over his head? If you think that's too harsh, just think: I actually like Obama.

1. Happy Birthday, Mom.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Listen To Dr. Liccione, Children!

This guy has mental refuse better than books I will publish. I'm not kidding. He and Captain Jack talking theology would create a quantum singularity of some sort. I don't know, Pete. I'm not seeing a difference. It's sounds nice, kind of like "student-athlete," but it doesn't exist. You're either with the Reformers and their dogmatic-ecclesial assumptions, or not. You decide. But you ain't Catholic.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Missing The Boat

Unless we deplore what's actually deplorable, we're missing the point. Or the boat, if you like. We must distinguish between revelation and human opinion. We must be able to say, "No matter who fails and how, this is the doctrine of God." The very heart of the Protestant revolt makes this impossible, because Sola Scriptura makes the individual the arbiter of divine revelation. It not only rent the Western Church, but it dooms all those rival communities to eventual irrelevance, first, by dilution of cultural influence by pluralism, but more insidiously, because the individual submits to himself. Ecclesial fallibility is the only true gift of the Protestant revolt, and it eventually destroys all orthodoxy.

I see little point in celebrating historical developments in Protestant theology, as though 500 years stacks up against 2000. Unless "we were wrong the whole time" is a live option, you're not going to bridge the gap. To borrow Devin Rose, if Protestantism is true, the Church was wrong in every age, not just that one. We've got to come to terms with the difference in paradigms, and realize,--contra Leithart--that the unfortunate anti-ecclesial and anti-historical trends in evangelical theology are not the result of ill-tempered bomb-throwers, but the logical outcome of Reformation principles consistently applied. A Christian severed from the living memory of the Church is exactly as bad off as he sounds, no matter how desperately he longs to maintain that Tradition while refusing to return. Perhaps like many of us before, he does this in ignorance. But the earnest heart demands he pull the threads of truth together until he finds himself at the foot of Peter's chair. There is no orthodoxy without the Catholic Church.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

5 Thoughts For Today

5. I am terrible at waiting.

4. I am terrible at praying.

3. I am terrible at obeying.

2. God still loves.

1. Happy 21st Birthday, Joshua Bryan Cross.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Reading The Church Fathers Doesn't Matter

Yeah, you heard me. It doesn't matter. There is a veritable army of patristics scholars who aren't Catholic. You've probably read more Augustine than I have. Or whomever you'd prefer. Completely irrelevant. Did you know that St. Augustine was wrong about stuff? True story. Reading the Church Fathers won't necessarily make you Catholic, or anything else. It depends on what you're looking for, and why.

The fathers are not a norm in themselves, unless they agree on something, which (almost) never happens. BTW, don't we need a Church to have Church Fathers? That's what you should be looking for. You've just expanded your bookshelf if you read patristics without asking the question about the nature of the Church. You might even begin to think you're better than Brother Johnny-Bob at The Sticks Bible Church, because you've read "City of God." That's kinda dumb, don't you think?

Anybody can comb through whatever sources you like, looking for what they already believe. The only question that actually matters is, "Where is the Church?" We can reason that it has to be visible fundamentally; otherwise, our visible communities become useless as conveyors of dogmatic truth, because they: A) believe mutually contradictory things that cannot be adjudicated by any reasonable person, and B) have no necessary and obvious connection to one another. Why this isn't obvious, I don't know.

Common Grace Is Not A Thing

Yes, it's true. Usually, you hear this phrase "common grace" when a Reformed seminarian is attempting to articulate the mind-blowing experience when a non-Christian does something incredibly nice or heroic, often to a greater degree than he would do himself. This must be explained. Of course, he can't explain it in such a way to lead one to think that good deeds could lead to salvation. He also can't attribute it to the goodness that flows from human nature as such; he's committed to the idea that human nature is corrupted in every part, such that a person cannot do anything accompanying salvation. But what he fails to realize is, this is true anyway, even if we reject total depravity. Human nature as such, even if we had not fallen, is not capable of reaching God.

If we say anything different than this, we are Pelagians. Reformed theology is so focused on human life post-Fall that it conflates nature and grace. Catholicism isn't semi-Pelagian, either, because Reformed people misunderstand semi-Pelagianism in the first place. Semi-Pelagianism proper is the idea that man makes the first move, and then God assists, not the other way around. But true Christian doctrine is clear: Man cannot ascend to the supernatural absent a gift of God which is called grace. Semi-Pelagianism is as impossible as Pelagianism.