Saturday, May 24, 2014

Here's The Funny (Sad) Part

Rachel Held Evans is not the problem. There, I said it. These hermeneutics are the inevitable result of having ignored and subsequently redefining "God-given apostolicity." Yes, it's about Sola Scriptura. If the individual can interpret Scripture any way he likes (with the witness of history rendering at best an advisory opinion), sooner or later, you're going to reject something "traditional" in favor of something else. Isn't Rachel breaking the same ecclesial "shackles" that Luther did? But it was OK, then, right? Why? Doesn't every maverick say, "This other view is tainted by..." or "This organization is not legitimate, because..." Somebody better figure out what they mean by "apostolic" and "tradition," and I mean quickly.

Look, I agree that the Scripture is plain on the matter. But the only reason I do is because I know who gave me the Scriptures, and so I read them how she reads them, and only that way. The Catholic Church gives us the Scriptures. And trust me, she's not going anywhere, because Jesus said so. (And obviously, neither is he.)

The proponents of the normalization of homosexual activity are just today's Montanists. They have no more claim to the Holy Spirit than the Montanists did. Jump in the boat; the water's rising fast.

Friday, May 23, 2014

In The Wrong Business, Peter

Devin is all over this. I don't need to be upset about it; you all know my arguments by now, probably, and I've said my peace concerning Leithart personally. This theology is nothing but a dead-end; you either spend your life dreaming of the mental phantasm you call the "Church," blissfully believing that every subtle tweak, every adjustment you make in response to the "shocking" reality that not everyone agrees with you, is from God (and not yourself), or you humbly recognize that some piece of the puzzle is missing, and you go find it. If the basis for the agreement between all Christians--such as it is--is an ecumenical council, (as one example) you must define the term. You must inquire how it got there; you must find out why that is important. You have to carry that forward--if it's part of the rule of faith--as a principle, and apply it in a principled manner. If ecumenical councils are an invaluable part of the definition of the rule of faith, because orthodoxy doesn't exist without it, you can't honestly reject one without at least wondering if you're in the same boat as the other heretics in the dustbin of history. [Reverse Noah-Reagan Combo; nice.--ed.] If you're even remotely honest about it in the end, you're an atheist, or a Catholic. Why? Because notice the end-point of the hermeneutics of suspicion or rupture: You say, "It's all a man-made power grab, and God had nothing to do with it." But the heart of faith is this: To believe that God is faithful. If that is true, then I am as bound to the means by which that faithfulness has been expressed, and the symbol of it, as I am to God Himself. The means of God's faithfulness to us--and to Himself--is the Church. The Church must be visible, else we have nothing to which we are bound, and no way to articulate the common faith we profess.

Leithart should forgo theology, and open a restaurant. A barbecue restaurant. He could perfect a pulled-pork sandwich to end them all, and call it the, "Begging The Question." I kid, but I joke to make the point: I don't care what any Christian community says, unless and until I know that their Symbol has been given and protected by Christ Himself. That's the question behind the question: "Did God say this?" and it's in the end the only one that matters.

Father, gather all Your children, scattered throughout the world, and bring them to the fullness of charity, together with Francis our pope, our bishop, all the bishops and all the clergy. Amen.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

5 Thoughts For Today

5. Man, when the Boomer rockers were older and not trying to be edgy, they made truly great pop music, even if a solid chunk of their audience wanted to vomit.

4. I call malarkey on anyone who claims to dislike "Glory Of Love" by Peter Cetera.

3. I know she changed Christian music forever, but someone should say it: Amy Grant's pop albums are better than her Christian ones.

2. I wish I had written "Endless Summer Nights" by Richard Marx.

1. You hear "This I Promise You" by NSYNC, and you think, "It's an adequately serviceable ball of sap from some teenage crooning sissies." You hear the songwriter (Richard Marx) sing it, and there's a credibility there, even if it's still melodramatic.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Unity Fail

I've got a hope for unity, too. I sought communion with the Catholic Church in order to realize it. And the reason--indeed, the only reason I did--is because my hope absolutely could not be realized on the "Reformers'" terms. The big lie of the fig-leaf of "derivative authority" is that there is a difference between "me and my Bible" and Sola Scriptura. There isn't. Leithart is the perfect embodiment of the more perfect fundamentalist; his interpretive skills are better than most. And he appears to take history seriously. That's a major step forward. But it makes it harder for someone like him to realize that, after all the shell games, he's submitting to himself. I must be able to tell the difference between a fallible opinion (like my own) and the Word of God. And on Protestant terms, if my community does not have a charism of infallibility, there is little point in pretending submission in the first place. And if the Church is fundamentally invisible anyway, the determinations of any one visible community mean precisely 2 things: Jack and Squat. If God didn't say it, it doesn't matter. You need also to distinguish between heresy and schism, and you can't really do it, because you can't say, "Your separation from this visible manifestation of the invisible Body of Christ is a horrible sin!" Obvious Retort: "According to Scripture passages, etc. this doctrinal determination is incorrect, and we're leaving!" ad infinitum. "If I submit only when I agree, the one to whom I submit is me." This insight kills Protestantism, and any possible legitimacy for "cafeteria" Catholicism. [You gonna break it to the Anglicans?--ed] No. They know. They've known since at least the 1890s that the party's over.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

5 Made-Up Words

5. "Science"--The heathen use this word as a catch-all for certain dubious metaphysical conclusions drawn from empirical science, like a billy-club. Example: "Science has proven...." There is no personal "science," you buffoon. The scientific method is a method, not a life coach.

4. "Homophobia"--This word designates as a disorder any person who does not rush to celebrate homosexual acts (and the resulting political activism) as the GREATEST THING EVER!!!

3. "Bigot"-- See #4.

2. "Equality"--This word refers to giving any group of unhappy, imbalanced people whatever their whims dictate.

1. "Progress"--This refers to a person's relative success in using the apparatus of government to cater to the whims of unhappy, imbalanced people, at the expense of everyone else.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

We're Not Saved By Knowledge, But By Love

C.S. Lewis is a hero to evangelicals in general, and most Christians everywhere. If you've actually been an evangelical for any length of time, you might notice he doesn't square up with it very well. Well, duh. Anglican. Which roughly translates to, "Vomit-inducing heresy, or Catholics in denial." I digress.

But do you know why we still loved him in our evangelical days? Because when evangelicalism is good, preserving something true, it's Catholic. That's the reason. It's up to you to figure out where the stuff you believe that doesn't square with Lewis comes from, but the stuff that does is all Catholic. There is no mere Christianity without the Catholic Church. No, not "small c" catholic. Big 'c'. Get over it. Feel free to disagree. But when you get broad-minded, when you get the thirst for "historic" Christianity, you're looking for the Tiber. We could stick a little flavoring in there, and call it "Tiberian Quench." Billions we could make, friends.

There are only two ways to not be Catholic, in good conscience: 1. Total ignorance about the "rule of faith," and the means by which it was defined, or 2) the "We Lucked Out" version of Christian history, which is totally ad hoc, (which any good Montanist or Donatist would be happy to point out, since your ad hoc "orthodoxy" is no less so than his) and it presupposes this, which is utterly contrary to the basic biblical theme of God's faithfulness to his people, and to His Church.

There was a time in the search when there were essentially 3 groups: 1) my community, 2) the patristic Church, and 3) the Catholic Church. You shouldn't be Catholic unless and until you realize that (2) and (3) are the same Church. It's real simple, at the end of the day. If the identifiable visible Church of the Fathers is governed by the same guy juridically as the Catholic Church today, then the Catholic claim to be the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church is true.

I only pray Lewis didn't know it was true, and refuse. (LG, 14)

Bonus, From The Title: Some people call the "crackpot" notion that God could forgive the sins of a man who does not explicitly confess Christ "inclusivism." Oh, horse-hockey. Let me translate your outrage: "God alone is the just Judge of all, but I'd rather substitute my own judgment for His. I'd rather stake people's eternal souls on an arbitrary series of words I put together, rather than remember that God knows hearts, as He says in Matthew 7:21." There we go.