Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cheap Laughs

5. I failed (withdraw-fail) an English class in college because I was late too many times. That one bummed me out; he looked a bit like Brett Favre. And Brett Favre is awesome, in spite of himself.

4. Beauty queens age well, as long as they don't do anything stupid. That's why they're beauty queens.

3. If I become famous, I can say, "I put my pants on the same way as everyone else." On the other hand, can I still say it, given the fact that I outsource that activity?

2. I'm bringing a bag of Fritos to a party chock-full of health-conscious people.

1. Mary is the quintessential mother, obviously. Mother of the Church, and spiritual mother to all Christians. If the apparitions are to be believed, however, Mary never "stays at home."

Friday, April 18, 2014

Ecclesial Fallibility

This is what Sola Scriptura should be called, because that's what it is. It's the right of interpretive veto power over any supposed "church" and its juridical and doctrinal decisions. What it means is that there is no real principled difference between "Solo Scriptura" and "Sola Scriptura". Granted, to create a concept of "derivative authority" to some creed or other thing does create more skin in the game, as it were, to foster the inertia of consensus that's required to maintain some semblance of contact with orthodoxy. But eventually, you're going to break the axiom--Oh, let's call it "JK's Axiom #1"--"One cannot be both the arbiter of divine revelation, and a humble receiver of it at the same time." A naturalist is a person who has used his interpretive veto power to not only question every church, but to question the existence of God. Here's the kicker, though: he's definitely a Protestant.

I wrote that a Christian needs to know what God says in the places closest to our lives ("local church", in the Reformed parlance) in order to be Christian. This led to my other closely related axiom, "If God didn't say it, it doesn't matter." Or, in other words, doctrinally speaking, a human opinion is just that. So, cheer up, my friends: the Presbyterian Church in America could declare you a heretic tomorrow, and it means two things: Jack, and Squat. They aren't willing or able to say they speak for Christ Himself, so who cares?

Leithart certainly didn't. And he tested the individualism right at the core of the whole thing. He said, "Prove to me from the Scriptures I'm wrong!" But you can't. That's why it's an insidious lie, Sola Scriptura. The best thing two Protestants can do is decide that doctrine x is "secondary" to the gospel,  of which the very existence of their communities with distinct doctrines is a counter-sign. Go ahead: Tell Pastor Mark Dever you want to baptize your infant son. Or his. Then enjoy the fireworks. Slow-motion relativism, and then the formation of politico-cultural groups and alliances to compensate for the dissonance of not being able to know what God definitely said. All Protestantism is degenerating into ceasaro-papism now; Jim Wallis' Caesar may be different than yours, but it's all the same.

Food for thought.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

5 Thoughts For Today

5. I'm grumpy today. Perhaps tomorrow's trip to The Box is well-timed.

4. [Isn't it a little flippant to refer to the Sacrament of Penance with a thinly-veiled sports analogy?--ed.] No, and I'll tell you why. A huge part of the renewal that we need is convincing others and ourselves (by grace) that God absolutely loves us! How many Catholics are "fallen away," simply because they have irrational notions and fears about what we do as Catholics, and why? Actually, it's the perfect analogy. Hockey players don't have an existential crisis every time they commit an infraction. Most of the spectators don't think even the troll on the opposing team who just tripped their guy is at his core irredeemable or inhuman. And yet, no one would argue that infractions should be ignored, despite some variance in the enforcement or application of said rules. Most sinners need to think like hockey players: You are not unworthy to play just because you screw up.

3. Your conscience needs to be like a well-trained referee, who lets you know when you have gone wrong, and leads you to The Box.

2. Fred Noltie (yes, that Fred Noltie) is in my comments section. I'm humbled and honored, seriously. And yes, it is a Mutual Admiration Society, but it's also real. I marvel at his clarity and charity. I'm staying out of it, and letting the man work.

1. I hope and pray that God is making a way for Fred and his family to live on what he does in the way of apologetics and the like. I feel that strongly about it.

Heaven Is For Real, And I'm Catholic

Which means we can think about things other than the Scriptures. Not contradict them, mind you. But the last line here just annoys me. I don't think anyone confuses a book--an admittedly fallible human product--with divine revelation. I think evangelicals say, "But it's not the Bible" once again to avoid thinking about, or even enjoying, anything. Also, this is why Jesus gave us the Magisterium in the first place: so we know whether something is in accord with what he taught us. We of Christ and Peter's flock do indeed find stupid things to fight about, but our being petty is generally known on all sides. Anyway, Catholics definitely are not averse to visions and things; we were into God doing weird things well before they inspired reactionary conferences from John MacAurthur. [Zing.--ed.]

In fact, I'm such an anti-rationalist that I'm more inclined to believe a vision than not believe it, provided it is not obviously contrary to the faith on the face of it.

Being Catholic is nothing less than the freedom to rest in unchanging Truth, but it is also the freedom to embrace the weird. I have to wonder if some of the caution is because biblicism circles back around to kiss rationalism in the end. Which is not to say the book is good or true. It is to say that, more than likely, the verdict on this book will vary, according to judgments of prudence and personal sanctification.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

He Deserves A Real Answer, Part III

If this is not clear, this is the argument:

Here's the argument:

(1) All my sins (past, present, and future) were already forgiven.

(2) My sanctification will be accomplished immediately and painlessly at the moment of my death.

(3) Given the sufficiency of the work of Christ, nothing can make God any more or less pleased with me than He is right now.

(4) Heaven is unimaginably better than here.

(5) At death I instantly enter heaven.


(6) Suicide is better than waiting around to die.

Against the charge that no Reformed person experiences life this way, Bryan helpfully adds: 

Of course I agree. I'm pointing out a contradiction between that experience of the meaningfulness of our post-salvation temporal life, and a theology that entails post-salvation temporal meaninglessness. That contradiction ought to concern anyone who cares about truth and therefore wishes to eliminate contradictions from his set of beliefs.

So my (temporal nihilism) argument is intended to reveal the contradiction, and then show that the contradiction is a reductio ad absurdum of monergism.

Same thread. And this site is Bryan's personal blog, in case that was unclear.

He Deserves A Real Answer, Part II, Starring Ralph Macchio (No, Not Really)

Go back to the previous post if you need a refresher, but Dr. Bryan Cross is not, as I understand it, making the syllogism/dilemma to say that any current Reformed person thinks suicide is good; rather, he is asking whether that is a viable conclusion to reach, given the premises. He knows well the conclusion is undesirable, and altogether not good. That's why it's a dilemma. He's definitely saying that Reformed people are inconsistent with their principles, and in this case, that's a very good thing. As Dr. Feingold says, "It is better to be inconsistent with good principles, than to be consistent with bad ones."

It seemed to me all over the place that various heretical radical individualists were being very consistent in the application of Sola Scriptura. If a principle well applied (consistently, that is) leads inoxerably and unavoidably to a bad end, most especially for those who do not intend it, that's a good clue it's a bad principle.

Overall, "conservative Protestants" (the phrase is quickly losing meaning) are inconsistent in their application of both good and bad principles. The opposite of ecclesial deism is God's faithfulness, which becomes expressed visibly in the Church, which, more than metaphorically, draws its reality from the Incarnate Word Himself.