Reformation Fail?

So I don’t want to come across like a fastidious person or anything, but there were a couple of things recently that I thought were kind of in poor taste. (“Just a couple? Where do you live, man?”)

I mean a couple of things regarding Reformation 500, the half-millennium anniversary of the Reformation yesterday, and I am talking about a couple things from the Protestant side. I am not talking about all the funny Wittenberg door memes, or the general horsing around that characterizes robust theological debate. (“No, I am not fixing the door. I am fixing your theology.”) So it is not that I think we have to be all sanctimonious about Reformation history. I mean, it is not like we are talking about the signing of the Declaration of Independence or anything.

Special note to a select cadre of my readers. That was a joke.

But here’s the thing. Russell Moore tweeted out this picture, presenting himself as the bridge between Luther and Pope Francis. This is wrong on any number of levels, but I want to focus on just one of them.

And the day before yesterday, in a similar vein, Peter Leithart published this article at Fox News, an article describing how Luther’s Reformation had failed.

Now Moore’s tweet was a joke with a serious point in the subtext, while Leithart’s article was an abstract of the central point he was arguing in his book The End of Protestantism. That means that my objection to both is not as judgy in Moore’s case, but it is still the same basic objection.

Now even assuming that both gentlemen were correct in what they were urging — which I actually do not grant, but bear with me — this struck me as the equivalent of taking the occasion of your mother’s 75th birthday to raise a toast to all her many deficiencies. Even if you were right about those deficiencies, especially if you were right about them, it just seems like a cold thing to do. It sort of dampens the enthusiasm of the party, and then guests start leaving early, muttering jeepers. And then, there you are with yet another awkward family moment.

In short, honor your mother, so that your life may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

And now just another brief word on the merits. There are any number of ways to make the substantive point that Peter wanted to make without that disrespect—the Reformation continues, the incomplete Reformation, semper reformanda, the unfinished work of the Reformation, etc. Future catholicity is set before us in the New Testament (Eph. 4:12-13), and anyone who kicks at that is kicking against God’s revealed purposes for the history of the church. Peter and I agree on the eventual reunion of all believers. It is just that Peter thinks it should have happened by now, and my best guess is that we are looking at another couple thousand years, right on schedule. In the meantime, I want us to speak more respectfully about our mom.

I think Peter Leithart’s mistake here is a category mistake. It is a mistake borne of impatience, which is an odd mistake for a postmillennialist to fall into. What does it mean to say that a historical event like the Reformation “failed” at anything? How is success to be measured, and how much time do we have? So this is a football game—what quarter are we in?

At the end of history, a hundred years before the Eschaton say, would it make sense to say that the Industrial Revolution failed? Or that the discovery of America failed? Or that the Bronze Age was a total wash?

And turning to matters of a more spiritual nature, and taking it down to the level of individuals, what then? After all, Peter’s title said that it was Luther’s Reformation that failed. Did Paul’s second missionary journey fail? Did Polycarp’s martyrdom fail? Was Latimer whistling in the dark with all that bluster about his candle never going out? No, because that is not how the work of the kingdom proceeds. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). The Lord who remembers every cup of cold water given in His name will not tally up one of the greatest works of His Spirit in history as a FAIL. The Father and Son did not say to the Spirit anything like, “Nice try.”

That said, when we are pronouncing on the meaning of history, which is inescapable, we still need to recall that it is quite a tricky thing. We need to remember that God often deals from the bottom of the deck. A string of quotations may help us remember this as we gather up our things and prepare to leave this blog post. Herbert Schlossberg once said, “The Bible can be interpreted as a string of God’s triumphs disguised as disasters.” And here is Chesterton: “Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.” And Charles Williams says somewhere that the altar is sometimes built in one place so that the fire may fall in another.

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adad0
Member

Didn’t finish the post. I’m thinking that
Bobble head religious figures as idols,
Is really all that need be said, albeit
Visually.

????

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I don’t think they’re idolatrous because it’s hard to imagine anyone worshiping a bobble-headed doll, but I think they are sometimes a little irreverent when they represent holy people (no, I don’t mean either Luther or Pope Francis). It would be technically possible to make a nativity scene using Barbie and Ken dolls, but I don’t think anyone should do it.

Trey Mays
Member

You don’t mean Luther or Pope Francis. Does that mean you do mean Dr. Moore? Jill Smith :-)

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I think I had better check him out before I give him a halo!

adad0
Member

It’s hard to imagine anyone being coerced by Harvey Weinstein either, but stranger things have happened!????
In any case, theology matters, but it does not matter as much, when it is made into an idol.
There is a big difference between sin and “debatable matters”.
It’s ok to rebuke the former, it’s not ok to confuse the latter with the former.
Often, more time is spent on disagreements, at the expense of larger agreements.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Adado, I think that power must be more powerful than attractiveness! Weinstein, like Steve Bannon, always looks like he needs a shave. I remember when villains had to at least have some degree of attractiveness! But at least I knew Kevin Spacey was gay without having to wait for my daughter to tell me! Many years ago, Rock Hudson was diagnosed with AIDS and I said to my dear mother, “But Rock Hudson? Is he gay?” My mother, who was old even then, told me I must be the only person in the western hemisphere who didn’t know that!

Silas
Guest
Silas

I mostly agree with you. I think Leithart is wanting to admonish those in protest to remember the point is reformation. Too many people act worse than Rome in theiclaim to exclusive doctrinal precision. All of the church must agree with me before I will unite.

Trey Mays
Member

If Leithart hadn’t written the book “The End of Protestantism” prior to this recent piece on Reformation 500, then I could agree with you. But I think any admonishment from Leithart of Protestants needs to be seen in light of what he’s written from “The End of Protestantism.”

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Knowing little about Russell Moore, I need some help from my Protestant friends to interpret this visual. Does he see himself as King Henry of Navarre, reconciling the warring factions of Christendom? Was he born to cut a deal between the Magisterium and sola scriptura? Will he succeed where all those earnest joint commissions have failed? Would the Colloquy at Marburg have turned out better if he had presided over its deliberations? And is it possible he might suffer from a slight delusion of grandeur?

Trey Mays
Member

He could be all of the above, Jill Smith. Racial reconciliation, from the premise of Marxist Privilege Theory, is probably Moore’s number cultural issue right now, and maybe that cultural reconciliation is expanding to include a religious reconciliation.

Dr. Moore is a great Christian man, but his idea of cultural engagement suffers from a little political correctness.

CHer
Guest
CHer

I’d question the “little” part. He goes almost full SJW at times.

Trey Mays
Member

I would define “full SJW” as someone like Jim Wallis of Sojourners. While Dr. Moore is one who holed a conservative theology, but has accepted certain premises of the SJW’s.

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

I can’t say I’m familiar enough with him to be of use. Though I did feel the need to mention that much of my reformation day has been spent responding to Catholics who swear up and down that all of the things you assure me aren’t part of Catholic doctrine (believing that the physical Catholic church is the “universal” church, that Protestants are inherently sinful for not being part of the Catholic church) in fact, are.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Tell them to go read the Official Catechism of the Catholic Church.

gabe
Guest
gabe

Is a bridge inherent in the meaning of the picture? It seems like it could simply be a silly attempt at unity.

Trey Mays
Member

Personally, I think it’s strange to have bobble head figures of dead religious leaders, much more strange to have one of a living religious leader.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

You can buy a bobble headed Calvin on line, as well as a John Wesley. I went looking for a Spanish Inquisitor, but they only had them as plush dolls.

Trey Mays
Member

See, that’s weird and strange (at least in my opinion).

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

It is both weird and strange. Who buys this stuff and is willing to pay for shipping? I thought my collection of porcelain dolls was odd enough .

NewChristendom
Guest
NewChristendom

“Charles Williams says somewhere that the altar is sometimes built in one place so that the fire may fall in another.”

This was actually in Lewis, That Hideous Strength. But that book was deeply influenced by Williams, and it’s possible Lewis was quoting there.

NewChristendom
Guest
NewChristendom

In fact, he was quoting. I’d forgotten that.

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

This Leithart guy is playing a game of bait and switch. He blames the divisions of Christendom on the Reformers, yet the divisions were already in place. What the Reformers did was disrupt the false illusion of unity under the supposed authority of the Papacy. The truth by nature divides. The Reformers re-energized the church’s need for the teaching of justification by faith. Leithart’s implicit message is that the goal of Christendom is outward unity. False! The goal of Christendom is the proclamation of the gospel, namely justification by faith. The divisions we have now are caused by a power… Read more »

adad0
Member

Here is what that guy, Jesus said about this issue:

Matthew 10:34-36

34 “Do not think that I came to [a]bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

He also said this:

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.”

Arguably the clearest words by our Lord about justification by faith.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Kilgore, I have wondered if the issue about faith versus works comes from the Catholic belief that it is entirely possible to lose your salvation by walking away from faith. If you believe that, isn’t your obedience going to be seen as a kind of work when perhaps it isn’t?

bethyada
Member

Except that many of us Protestants believe that one can walk away from the faith.

Works gets a tough deal. I have met people claiming that even, what seem to me to be, beliefs can be works.

Best to see “works” in Paul as activities which people believe are meritorious. Read “work” as akin to “earn.”

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Yes, I think Anglicans and Lutherans think you can lose your salvation by a final and complete rejection of Christ. Works are indeed complicated; I have heard an IFB preacher argue that even repentance is a work. I think your distinction is a good one.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

It may be impolite to criticize one’s mother on her birthday, but grandmothers are also due their honor.

In this case we have a 500-year old dispute between your mother and your grandmother.

There comes a time when it is only just to admit that grandma may have been right about a thing or two. Perhaps your mother, in her younger years, was a bit too hot headed and acted rashly when she stormed out of the house. An anniversary can be a time to dust those family skeletons with an eye to retiring a few of them.

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

First of all, mother did storm out, she was kicked out. Secondly, she was kicked out for disputing grandmother’s usurping grandfather’s authority. We can still say that mother perhaps acted too rashly after the ejection from the house, but the solution is not for mother to concede that grandmother was right after all. The solution is for grandmother to admit she was wrong about that move. Not wrong about everything, certainly, but about that justification by works and usurpation of authority part, yeah that was not okay. Mother was right about that part.

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

CORRECTION: Mother did NOT storm out.

Ilíon
Member

Not only did Grandma kick Mom out of the house … she tried to kill her, and the kids.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Hi Llion, we may have kicked Grandma out of the house, but don’t forget that in Prague in 1618 Mom tossed Grandma out of a window–kicking off the Thirty Years War.

I have tutored AP Euro since Hector was a pup, and the one thing that students never seem to forget is the Defenestration of Prague! Whether it is the image of Catholic worthies flying out of windows or the elegance of the name, I can’t tell you.

Ilíon
Member

1618 > 1517

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

Spot on. Until such a time as that repentance takes place, unification would be an immoral compromise.

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

I’m glad you noted the moral aspect of this push for Catholic-Protestant unity. The divide was only justified by this moral imperative in the first place.

Time doesn’t change moral truth. Either we were wrong, and need to repent, or they were and need to repent.

Repentance to the truth is the only thing that can unify us.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

Repentance to the truth is the only thing that can unify us.

Amen.

It is always good to start with points of agreement.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

In any family dispute, there is fault on both sides – and, almost always, misunderstandings too.

On the subject of Sola Fide, I’ve recommended this article before:

Many Protestants today realize that Catholics adhere to the idea of salvation sola gratia (by grace alone), but fewer are aware that Catholics do not have to condemn the formula of justification sola fide (by faith alone), provided this phrase is properly understood.

On the second matter, many Protestants have a somewhat inflated view of the nature and scope of the Catholic Church’s authority.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I have noticed that as well, and it runs counter to how North American Catholics actually behave. If the church had that much authority, there wouldn’t be Catholic pro-abort politicians, and Callista Gingrich would not be a suitable ambassador to the Vatican.

Trey Mays
Member

Because of that whole adultery thing?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Not so much that because presumably she repented. But (and I don’t know the details) she got a remarriage after divorce, and she got it with the person with whom she committed adultery. This is sadly commonplace these days and I am trying not to be judgmental. But she is not really an example of virtuous Catholic womanhood at its best.

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

“In any family dispute, there is fault on both sides – and, almost always, misunderstandings too.” Then raise the issue of moral significance with the Protestant interpretation which requires repentance, and we can evaluate it on Biblical reference. Simply saying that fault must exist somewhere out there in the ether isn’t very helpful. If I’m at fault and need to repent, I want to know what for. “On the second matter, many Protestants have a somewhat inflated view of the nature and scope of the Catholic Church’s authority.” In my experience, this is because what authority the Church is treated… Read more »

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Especially when some of them are so nasty to everyone else. I have listened to Baptist denunciations of Calvinist “doctrines of devils” that make Savonarola sound like a piker.

Ilíon
Member

But, Baptists *are* Calvinists.

Trey Mays
Member

Yes, and no. There are Reformed Baptists, and there aren’t.

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

And as we all well know, ALL Catholics are just rays of sunshine, avoiding any level of fire and brimstone judgement rhetoric at every opportunity.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Justin, there was a time when that was fair comment. But if you do a google search on “Official Catholic attitudes towards Protestants,” you are very unlikely to find anything very uncharitable. I have been a Catholic for a long time, and I will swear on a stack of missals that I have never heard a priest preach a sermon calling Protestants wicked devils.

bethyada
Member

Word for the day: Missals

Always a delight to have my vocabulary stretched by yourself (and the blog owner).

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

The thin paper versions are called missalettes, which makes me think of a Motown girl group from 1962. “And now, to kick off our annual fundraiser, I Will Follow Him sung by Mandy and the Missalettes.”

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

I think you misunderstand my meaning here. I was simply responding to the idea that Protestants being rude to one another was some uniquely Protestant trait. I’m not asserting that it’s especially Catholic either, just that your comment seemed to suggest treating other Christians poorly was a Protestant phenomena.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Got it, Justin, thanks. I think, however, that there is a real increase in the hostility different kinds of Catholics are feeling for one another. I am sheltered from this because my heavily Catholic, heavily Democrat neighborhood isn’t really exposed to politically and theologically conservative opinion. But lately I have read statements from Catholics who despise Francis and think he is destroying the church. I wonder if John XXIII aroused the same opposition when he began to modernize the church.

bethyada
Member

Us Protestants didn’t mind Benedict, but think Francis is a bit of a liberal.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

“A bit”? Seriously, though, I think a few of his statements have been misinterpreted. He has not helped this by his tendency to speak off the cuff in sound bites. Remember his “who am I to judge?” comment about gays? This led some non-Catholics around the world to hope (or to dread) that the church was going to be okay with same sex unions. Catholics, on the other hand, heard it as: “Who am I to be harsh toward someone struggling with incredible temptations with which, thank God, I have never been afflicted?” We didn’t think that St. Peter’s was… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

This continues to amaze me:

For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 
For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
1 Cor 11:18-19

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

” it is not possible to speak of “the Protestant interpretation”. It didn’t seem to be much of a problem when you spoke of disagreements between Protestants and Catholics as though it were merely two parties, then when I responded dividing groups into the same groups you did, you feel the need to nit pick your own paradigm. Ok, fine. I’ll be more specific. What “faults” were you referring to in the Protestant break from Catholicism? However you want to define what “Protestant” is, you clearly meant *something*, what was it? I can’t help but interpret this as an elaborate… Read more »

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

One can think of Protestants as corporately making both positive and negative assertions. On the matter of negative assertions, there is almost complete agreement. Protestants all reject a common list of Catholic doctrines. On the matter of positive assertions there is almost complete disagreement. Each group has its own list of what it considers important and non-negotiable. The “fault” that I highlighted above is the rejection of the unity of the Church. This is one of those “negative assertions” that is common to all Protestants. Plenty of Catholics have been at fault too for doing a very poor job of… Read more »

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

“The “fault” that I highlighted above is the rejection of the unity of the Church.” This seems to me to be more than a tad hypocritical. There are two sides to this division, neither side is willing to ‘cede the point for the sake of unity. How can only one side be “rejecting unity”? If you acknowledge the necessity of unity of the Church John, why not renounce Catholicism and work to convince others to do the same? If you’re not willing to give up doctrine for the sake of unity, why do you expect others to do so? A… Read more »

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

That Protestants adopt what they believe to be an unBiblical worldview for the sake of unity? No, indeed. I would not want you to disregard your conscience. Nor would any Catholic priest admit you into the Church if you did not actually believe what the Church teaches. The only proper reason for you to become Catholic is that you come to believe that Catholicism is true. Just as God didn’t call for the “one true Church” to be a physical organization run by a single sinful man … Matthew 16:15-19: He said to them, “But who do you say that… Read more »

Ilíon
Member

My experience, too.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

As I imagine you know, I was married to a Jew for many years. He knew me–and my mind–as closely as one person can know another. After about ten years of marriage, he brought up papal infallibility. Wanting to grasp the depth of his understanding before launching into an explanation, I said, “If the pope tells me that it is going to rain in Los Angeles next Sunday, am I compelled to believe him?” “Yes, of course,” he replied. “If the pope tells me that the Oilers will win the Stanley Cup, is he infallibly correct?” “Well, I don’t think… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Roman Catholics must admit that their definition of infallibility is heavily qualified and nuanced, to say the least. It’s not at all what most people think of as being infallible.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Ever hear the story of Little Red Riding Hood? There was a Grandma, but there was also a “Grandma” dressed up in Granny’s clothes. Perhaps the starting point is for Granny to admit the clothes do not make the Grandmother.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

Little Red Riding Hood looked for four marks to identify her true grandmother: ears, eyes. hands and mouth.

Similarly, the ancient creed identifies four marks of the true Church: it is “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic”.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Little Red Riding Hood looked but it wasn’t true grandmother’s ears,eyes, hands, and mouth she saw, but only a wolf in grandma’s clothing. She knew something wasn’t right, but couldn’t figure it out until it was too late. Happily, neither Little Red Riding Hood nor Grandmother perished, but were rescued by the timely arrival of the huntsman. A Mighty Fortress is our God / a bulwark never failing.

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

Ugh, your “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic” article is so riddled with holes this will take some parsing. I could write a full blog entry on the missteps in logic in the second paragraph alone.

For the moment, I’ll leave the placeholder rebuttal as “his references come nowhere close to proving his conclusions”.

Katecho
Member

It seems that Callaghan is trying to demonstrate that, regardless of Jill Smith’s appeals to Official Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, there is still a great hypocrisy when it comes to practical recognition of Protestant churches by Roman Catholics. Callaghan’s second link states: To ask these questions is to answer them: Any entity or body claiming to be the Church of Christ would have to be able to demonstrate its apostolicity by demonstrating an organic link with the original apostles on whom Christ manifestly established his Church. Nothing less than this could qualify as the “apostolic” Church which Jesus… Read more »

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

Some Protestant churches do claim apostolic succession: almost all varieties of Anglican churches (even the most liberal ) do, as do some varieties of Lutheran churches.

Katecho
Member

Once again, this is not a straightforward response from Callaghan. Is he saying that an unbroken electric current of apostolic pedigree is required for Protestant churches, or not? If he is, then he needs to take it up with Jill Smith and her claims about the Official Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church. We need Roman Catholics to sort out whether this is a requirement, and then get back to us. They can’t have it both ways. Why is it like pulling teeth to get a straight answer on this?

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

The Protestant churches that care about fitting the “Apostolic” criteria in the Nicene Creed do try to prove that they have legitimate apostolic succession (see links above). The Protestant churches that do not consider apostolicity to be a required marker do not bother.

If you would like to dig into the official Catholic explanation of the importance of apostolic succession, I would suggest reading Dominus Iesus. The first sections explain that there is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ, with which I am sure you agree. Paragraphs 16 and 17 address your particular questions here.

Katecho
Member

Once again, neither Callaghan, nor his sources, directly answer whether unbroken apostolic pedigree is held by the Roman Catholic Church to be a strict requirement for union with Christ, as His Church. I would simply remind him that, on the question of pedigree, Christ rebuked the Jews, saying: “Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.” — Matthew 3:9 Clearly God is not hindered by superstitions involving, or limitations presented by, pedigree. The Dominus Iesus purports to be a… Read more »

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

This declares that there are second-class churches within the body and Bride of Christ.

Surely you believe this yourself?

Somewhere on the slope from OPC to PCUSA to Methodist, Adventist, Mormon, JW, etc. you will draw a (fuzzy?) line and say, “that group has gone too far afield”.

It is important to realize that official Vatican documents make a careful distinction between the terms, “separated Churches” and “ecclesial Communities”. This Q&A document may help makes this clearer.

Here are some guidelines for Protestants contemplating ordination:

Requirements for the Transition From Protestant Minister to Catholic Priest

Katecho
Member

It’s curious that Callaghan chose to be unresponsive to the central Scriptural arguments against haughty wild branches, and appeals to pedigrees. He can’t say that he was never given the opportunity. His link explaining how *former* Protestant ministers can be converted and subsumed back under full Roman Catholic dogmatics and sacramental theology is just an insult to my actual ecumenical offer. I was explaining how, while sharing the rest of the Nicene Creed in common, the alleged defect in Protestant apostolic pedigree could be easily remedied, directly, by Roman Catholics extending an apostolic ordination on that basis alone, without requiring… Read more »

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

The problem with extending ordination to willing Protestants is that Catholic priests are supposed to be …. well … Catholic. It’s a truth-in-advertising thing.

This means believing, not just in the words of the Nicene Creed, but also in everything else that the bishops gathered in Nicea believed in 325 AD.

A bishop’s job is to administer the seven sacraments. A man who denies five of them and has a defective understanding of the other two is ipso facto ineligible for the sacrament of Holy Orders.

As a last resort, there is always the Church of England

Katecho
Member

Callaghan continues to miss the point. The suggestion was not that Roman Catholics ordain Protestants “as Roman Catholics”. The suggestion was that if Rome is genuine in their claim to see Protestants as actual churches within Christ’s Body, sharing in all of the Nicene essentials, save for apostolic succession, then why doesn’t Rome offer to remedy this alleged defect and remove the “separation” by whatever means they think would be appropriate to convey apostolic legitimacy? If Callaghan simply wants to move the goal posts and say that Protestants have to accept all of Rome’s distinctives before their “unicity” can be… Read more »

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

“Apostolic legitimacy” is not a thing that can be bartered (Acts 8:9-29). As Luther himself recognized, the doctrine of the Eucharist is an essential that cannot be viewed as a matter for compromise. In fact, Canon 10 of the Council of Nicaea disallows your suggestion: If any who have lapsed have been ordained through the ignorance, or even with the previous knowledge of the ordainers, this shall not prejudice the canon of the Church; for when they are discovered they shall be deposed. I should have explained in a previous reply that the term, “separated Churches” is reserved for Eastern… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Callaghan wrote: “Apostolic legitimacy” is not a thing that can be bartered (Acts 8:9-29). We’ve already discussed the superstitious fallacy concerning unbroken pedigrees; where Christ rebuked the Pharisees that God could raise children of Abraham from stones. However, Callaghan should have noticed that what I was proposing was not a barter, or purchase, at all. I was proposing that the disputed “apostolic legitimacy” be offered freely by Roman Catholic priests on the basis of our shared theology and incorporation within Christ. What we see is that Callaghan simply isn’t interested. He would stand to loose all claim to first-class privileged… Read more »

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

I am thankful that we do share so much in common and I do appreciate that you are trying to improve our fellowship. I think you will find the answer to why the Church cannot accept your suggestions within the canons of the Council of Nicaea itself. I’ll start by noting that apostolic succession is quite clearly described in the New Testament. The very first thing that Peter did after Our Lord’s Ascension was to replace Judas. Paul reminds Timothy and Titus (1 Tim. 4:14; Titus 2:15) that they have authority based on their ordination (“the laying on of hands”).… Read more »

Joshua Lister
Guest
Joshua Lister

Doug, I am a fan and avid reader of your blog. I agree with the heart of your post. Respect your mom and don’t be too quick to judge something as a loss. However, why shouldn’t we extend your criticism of what Peter is doing to Martin Luther? Luther picked the day before All Saints Day on purpose. It seems like someone at the time could have said something like, “I know you don’t like this whole indulgence business but to bring it up on the day before we celebrate the saints? Respect where you came from!” I think Peter… Read more »

Shawn
Guest
Shawn

It is good to agree with Roman Catholics where we can (Trinity, sanctity of life, etc.), but do you really think we can all be one big happy family when the issue is one of the ultimate Authority being the Word of God or the word of men? For example, is Jesus the Head of the church, or the pope? Are we saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, or by faith and our works? Is Christ the one Mediator between God and men, or are Mary and the saints also mediators and channels of God’s grace?… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

He had never heard of the Reformation? Could he have been teasing you? I don’t think we can pretend at a doctrinal unity that may never exist in our time on this earth. (By the way, Catholics are taught that Jesus is head of the church, and the pope is his representative on earth. This does NOT necessarily make any pope sinless, let alone holy.) My own view is that if someone adheres to the doctrines of the Apostles or Nicene creed while acknowledging salvation through faith in Christ, he is Christian–in belief if not in his daily behavior. At… Read more »

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

” I wish we could accept that our doctrines are sometimes miles apart and that those differences neither prevent Christian faith nor stop individual Catholics or Protestants from being beacons of Christ’s light in a dark world.” The doctrines being apart aren’t merely irrelevant differences in how we see things though. For example, the Catholic and Protestant ideas of communion are substantially different, but not particularly different in a moral sense. Any degree of one person’s wrongness on the issue is not something that needs to be identified and exposed as sinful. Other differences are not so simple. Many Protestants… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Hi Justin, I’m not following all your conclusions, so let’s work through this. First, note that I was speaking of individuals, not institutions. I would not expect a devout member of a Reformed church to accept that the Catholic church is without error in its doctrine and practice any more than I would expect a devout Catholic to believe that “once saved always saved” is just as true as his own belief that right up until life’s end one can choose to reject Christ. I think that perhaps one reason some Protestants are reluctant to believe the Catholic church’s good… Read more »

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

“The Catholic church has explained in its catechism the role of images of our Lord and has forbidden the faithful from committing idolatry.” I don’t think anyone suggests that the Catholic Church doesn’t say they oppose Idolatry, merely that it isn’t using a very good definition of it. Really though, I didn’t bring this up to argue about whether or not Catholics do or don’t commit idolatry on the whole. I imagine that like most sins there’s a great deal of variance from person to person. No, I merely meant to establish for the sake of the following rhetorical question… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Justin, that was helpful. But I wonder if we are assigning different meanings to “fellowship.” To me, it doesn’t suggest glossing over serious differences, and neither does it mean yielding on principle. If there was a serious movement afoot to force reconciliation between Catholic and Reformed Christians on the basis of splitting the difference, I would oppose it. “You give up the pope, and we’ll give up the doctrine of limited atonement and call it quits” is not a move toward unity but a massacre of conscience on both sides. But fellowship as I define it does not imply total… Read more »

bethyada
Member

You give up the pope, and we’ll give up the doctrine of limited atonement and call it quits

You know, that actually would be a really good start.

lndighost
Member

Arminian alert! Cue the sirens! Light the beacons! Where’s Katecho when you need him?

bethyada
Member

My lack of sympathy for Calvinism is hardly news on this site.

Even Doug rates his post-millennialism higher than limited atonement. Limited atonement is by far the weakest of TULIP. Even many Calvinists have their doubts.

lndighost
Member

All in good fun, bethyada.

Katecho
Member

bethyada wrote: Limited atonement is by far the weakest of TULIP. Even many Calvinists have their doubts. Wilson has also argued that everyone (who is not a universalist) believes in limited atonement. We must either believe that Christ’s atonement was limited in scope, or limited in efficacy. Atonement must be limited in one of those two ways. Most Calvinists would hold that Christ didn’t accomplish a hypothetical atonement for a faceless, indifferent universe of mankind. Rather, Christ accomplished an actual, effectual, atonement for a numbered and ordained set that God knows personally, and whose names are inscribed on the palms… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Time for some horse trading. I will give up fish on Fridays and they will give up limited atonement.

jared
Member

I wonder if we might be somewhat misreading Leithart on this point. If the “goal” or “purpose” of the Reformation was to “reform” the Roman Catholic Church (and this does, indeed, seem to be Luther’s intent) then one can reasonably argue that it was, as a matter of theological and historical fact, a failure. This perspective does not in any way negatively reflect upon whether the Reformation accomplished God’s intended purposes for it with regards to the continued development of his kingdom. Perhaps the point is that contemporary evangelicalism/protestantism is not the “final form” of the Church that a lot… Read more »

Trey Mays
Member

You make solid points.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

Chesterton’s quote in context:

Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a god who knew the way out of the grave. But the first extraordinary fact which marks this history is this: that Europe has been turned upside down over and over again; and that at the end of each of these revolutions the same religion has again been found on top. The Faith is always converting the age, not as an old religion but as a new religion.

insanitybytes22
Member

“In the meantime, I want us to speak more respectfully about our mom.” Pfffttt. I just haven’t got a raspberry big enough for the sheer hypocrisy of that statement. The last thing people believing in curse of Eve theories are ever going to do is speak more respectfully about their mom. And why should they? She is allegedly the eternally cursed woman, beyond all redemption, totally responsible for the fall of mankind. Also, completely to blame for your birth. The stupid woman should obviously just shut up, submit to ALL men at all times, and certainly stop wearing such revealing… Read more »

Trey Mays
Member

And here’s the trolling MeMe we all know and love.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Right on cue.

CHer
Guest
CHer

Hey, I’m here. I made another comment that had nothing to do with red pills, curse of Eve, misandry, etc. But still, you can blame trolling and hijacking on me….because we know MeMe won’t own up to it. In fact, I’m beginning to think the curse was all on Adam…

OKRickety
Member

@MeMe,

“She is allegedly the eternally cursed woman, beyond all redemption, totally responsible for the fall of mankind.”

As I just commented on your blog, at least some of those who believe in the curse of Eve also believe in the curse of Adam.

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

“And why should they? She is allegedly the eternally cursed woman, beyond all redemption, totally responsible for the fall of mankind.” According to whom? That she gets her punishment for sin, as do we all doesn’t make her irredeemable. “The stupid woman should obviously just shut up, submit to ALL men at all times,” I think you miss part of the meaning of what you call “the curse of Eve”. Obeying your husband is only capable of being a punishment as it was if women are not lesser than men. If men were the betters of women, how would obeying… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

MeMe, Do you really not have any idea what this conversation is about, or are you trying, as you have been accused of doing before, to hijack it? Whether you have a point or not, does every discussion have to be about your pet topic? You mentioned biscuits before. I like biscuits. Talk about biscuits.

insanitybytes22
Member

“Do you really not have any idea what this conversation is about?”

Yeah. Hence the copy and paste of Pastor Wilson’s words. As to the rest of you responding to me, you’re ALL off topic. I have no desire to waste perfectly good biscuits on a bunch of idiotic ankle biters.

Mark H.
Guest
Mark H.

Do you even understand that Wilson is using “mom” as a metaphor?

insanitybytes22
Member

Of course I understand the metaphor. The irony of three bobble-headed men arguing over who is more disrespectful towards mom is just too silly for words.

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

” I have no desire to waste perfectly good biscuits on a bunch of idiotic ankle biters.”

-MeMe loving her neighbors as herself and placing love of others over hatred of sin

Trey Mays
Member

I didn’t realize this is what focusing on what we love, rather than what we hate looked like.

Freida Richter
Member
Freida Richter

I’ll take the comic relief. Otherwise, it’s too sad.

drewnchick
Member

One wonders if MeMe is actually a reincarnation of Ryan Sathers…

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
Guest
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp

Drewnchick, I sometimes wonder that myself.

However, to Sather’s credit, he did apologize to Doug publicly for all the bovine excrement he flung. To the best of my knowledge, he hasn’t commented here since.

CHer
Guest
CHer

I’m afraid my responses may not be loving enough, so I’ll let MeMe reply to MeMe with some of her previous comments…one is a paraphrase: “Yeah. Hence the copy and paste of Pastor Wilson’s words. As to the rest of you responding to me, you’re ALL off topic. I love MeMe’s all powerful ways, her ability to single handedly hijack a thread. “Pfffttt. I just haven’t got a raspberry big enough for the sheer hypocrisy of that statement.” You poor baby. “The stupid woman should obviously just shut up, submit to ALL men at all times, and certainly stop wearing… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

CHer, I have thought about this a lot over the years. I have had people on blogs disagree with me, question my sources, and tell me that my brain has atrophied from too much time in the California sun. I have never minded any of that. I don’t even really mind when people insist that I worship idols or am so trustingly naive that I shouldn’t be let out alone. But my interactions with MeMe were the first time that someone on a board has got to know me a little and then gone on to be seriously unkind and… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“We don’t know each other’s lives and we don’t know how much harm an attack on a sensitive person can do.” Have you ever afforded me the same courtesy? You have not. You know nothing of my life Jilly or what I might be going through. Nor do you care. And here you are once again attempting to curry favor and male approval from a red pill troll by attacking me. I’ve asked you to stop responding to my comments. Three times since I made that request, you have deliberately put me down in the hopes of seeking attention and… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

MeMe , you have a right to ask me not to respond to you directly. You don’t have a right to ask me not to comment, to individuals or to the board at large, on what you say. I will not directly ask you questions or ask you to explain yourself or tell that I don’t like something you have said, Similarly, I will not address you directly (other than this time, because you spoke directly to me) even to tell you that I agree with you, because you have asked me not to address you personally. But nobody here… Read more »

CHer
Guest
CHer

“After all, as you have so often hinted, I couldn’t–unlike you–keep my own man”

Or so she says. I don’t buy into her “I’m an angry witch all day online but a great submissive wife at home” shtick.” Regardless, the way she keeps bringing up other commenters’ divorces is what’s really deplorable.

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

” Regardless, the way she keeps bringing up other commenters’ divorces is what’s really deplorable.”

While her biggest complaint of conservative Christians is judging sins and mistakes……

bethyada
Member

What you said the other night was seriously awful, MeMe

We noticed. I have decreased my responses to Meme (not ceased) for a couple of reasons. But apologies for not offing a response to her venomous comment on your behalf.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Thank you for the kind thought, Bethyada. But I have to to believe that anything that might be perceived as a defense of me merely makes her angrier and therefore less able to look at her conduct rationally. I think Soylent may have had a good point. Perhaps the kindest thing we can do for MeMe is a steadfast refusal to engage. Although I will have to bite the tips off my fingers.

CHer
Guest
CHer

1) You’ve proved again on this thread that you’re the real troll here.

2) You continually attack Jill with a ridiculous appeal to motive fallacy. She’s a Catholic with moderate political/theological views. She has absolutely no reason to win any man’s favor here, red pill or not. And I’m not active on any “red pill” sites anyway. That’s another lie.

3) As Jill said, she’s not responding to you directly. It sounds like you just want to shut down her ability to comment altogether, Antifa-style.

insanitybytes22
Member

I have no interest in shutting down “Antifa-style” anyones ability to comment, I have an interest in discussing ideas rather than responding to constant personal attacks and endless character assassination.

You and a few other people who troll me, are clearly involved with the red pills. I see it, I read it, and I have observed the crossover. For the third or forth time, I am asking you to stop your outright trolling of me and refrain from your constant personal attacks.

CHer
Guest
CHer

Sure, on 2 conditions: 1) You stop hijacking every other post here with your “Eve’s curse” and general “women = good, men = bad” comments. 2) You stop the personal attacks on Jill, OKRickety and others. You’ve also made numerous ad hominem attack on me, while I’ve only accused you of things of which there’s ample evidence (misandry, lying and deliberately misquoting others, inconsistencies between your alleged personal life and online behavior, etc.). But if you want to attack me personally, fine. Just don’t make claims of how we need to love each other in the same thread. For the… Read more »

Kevin Brendler
Guest
Kevin Brendler

” … taking the occasion of your mother’s 75th birthday to raise a toast to all her many deficiencies. Even if you were right about those deficiencies, especially if you were right about them, it just seems like a cold thing to do.” I don’t come here looking for comfort or to relieve my soul’s aches and pains. Yet with this metaphor you touched me. You helped me on the inside. You brought blessed relief to a deeply distressed soul and troubled conscience. Much obliged, General. Very much obliged. One day I may learn to trust the wisdom and goodness… Read more »

Daniel Fisher
Member

Echoes of C.S. Lewis: “We have no notion what stage in the journey we have reached. Are we in Act I or Act V? Are our present diseases those of childhood or senility? …. A story is precisely the sort of thing that cannot be understood till you have heard the whole of it.”

Bugs
Guest
Bugs

“Peter and I agree on the eventual reunion of all believers. It is just that Peter thinks it should have happened by now, and my best guess is that we are looking at another couple thousand years, right on schedule.”

Are you a glass half-full or half-empty sort?

Jane
Member

Can’t answer for Doug, but IMO, the glass half-full answer is that we’re still in progress on a long timeline, and the glass half-empty is that we should be there by now but we’ve messed it all up.

Bugs
Guest
Bugs

The “right on schedule” bit was what piqued my interest. I don’t think that I need to say much re. “No one knows the day or the hour” to this audience. Granted, the scale is in years, but the Lord Jesus did say he’d return when we did not expect him.

So Doug, was the abovementioned humorous or serious?

bethyada
Member

It was saying that in God’s timing as God only knows, he will bring about all that he intends.

Bugs
Guest
Bugs

Right on the mark, if at times frustrating.

Joey Wells
Guest
Joey Wells

Unity of the Church vs. Purity of the Church, round 2,499,973…..FIGHT! It’s been said, but it might as well be said again. Luther’s intent did not come to pass, thus “failure,” as Leithart categorizes the events. That’s true. But, a lot of good came out of the schism, which was bad. If you can’t agree about the good, you are probably a Roman catholic who romanticizes the midieval church and doesn’t appreciate all the protestant blood that was spilt (by catholics) so you can read the Bible in the language of Tyndale and Henry VIII. If you can’t agree about… Read more »

Charles Williams
Guest
Charles Williams

Doug,

I don’t want to come across as a fastidious person, either, but your ad hominem (e.g., ‘poor taste’) doesn’t obscure the fact that ‘your mother’ and mine is well past 500 years old. Maybe your 75 or 500 year old mama isn’t who you thought her to be.

To say that something has failed could simply mean that it is not finished.

Peace of Christ,
Charles Williams

Jane
Member

It is not an ad hominem because he was not misusing a criticism to discredit the whole point. He was pointing out that there was an aspect of the situation worthy of criticism.

Charles Williams
Guest
Charles Williams

If not sticking to the ‘merits’, it seems to be ad hominem. Sort of like saying someones ‘BS detector’ is broken. But, again, I don’t want to be fastidious. Obviously, the mother analogy is just that. I’m suggesting the Church is our mother, not the Protestant Reformation. And that the Church predates Protestantism and will continue as Protestantism is in some sense eclipsed. Mom is fine, and the Reformation is forever a part of who she is. It’s just that now she’s sloughing something off to be renewed and become an increasingly glorious bride and mother. That’s going to be… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Charles Williams wrote: Mom doesn’t have to be either ‘Roman Catholic’ or ‘Protestant’. Agreed with much of what Williams says here, but I would point out that Wilson has written a book titled “Reformed Is Not Enough” where he makes most of these points explicitly. Most God-fearing Protestant churches don’t proclaim to be the root, or to be indispensable branches necessary to support the rest of the branches. However, the Roman Catholic Church does claim primacy over all other branches. It does claim an indispensable, first-class status. As such, they seem to have further to go in regard to the… Read more »

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

Ross Douthat’s take is worth reading in full:

[A] 500th anniversary is a good time to be a little bit harsh about the world we all take for granted, a world that was built on the wreckage created by Christian civilization’s civil war. Neither the Protestants nor Catholics won that war between the faiths: The instrumentalists did, the Machiavellians, the Westerners who wanted political and economic life set free from the meddling of troublesome priests and turbulent prophets.

Who Won the Reformation?

Nathan James
Member

What the!? That article is one giant, smoking fallacy. All the evil that took place after the reformation in protestant countries is blamed on the reformation split, post hoc ergo proptor hoc. Meanwhile all the evil that *was* the unreformed roman catholic church is ignored, as is all the evil done by catholic countries after the reformation. Oh, no, my mistake – that’s blamed on the reformation, too.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

If you are a small-government conservative, like our host here, then the Reformation marks a very unfortunate milestone in the growth of government power. 500 years ago, the Church had a very large role in society – beyond what most people today can imagine. It’s wealth and influence rivaled the government of any state in Europe. Sadly, that power was too often abused on a local level … and on a regional level … and on an international level. So, by the beginning of the 16th century there was widespread discontent and desire for a thorough reform. What occurred next… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

The injustice of the time called for radical change. To suggest that Europe could have continued without any radicals whatsoever is to misunderstand both human nature and God’s ways. We should all be thankful for bible-believing, Christ-loving radicals like the reformers.

The reformation was primarily a restraint on power. It was a restraint on church power, yes, but also on imperial and state power. It was a voice for national self-determination and individual conscience. It is absurd to recast it as a tyrannizing force simply because tyranny and godlessness were not exterminated from history.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

The Reformation was a restraint on the power of the Church in the same way that the 1917 Russian Revolution was a restraint on the power of the Tsar. The power was not destroyed; it was simply relocated into other hands.

Many of those who embraced the new religion were men of good conscience and sincere motivation. However, the practical outcome of their action was that of the 20-30% of the land in Europe that had been at least nominally devoted to religious purposes prior to 1517, the great majority ended up transferred directly to the ruling classes.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

You say “at least nominally” as if it were better than “not at all”. That treatment of “nominally” as being an acceptable substitute for the real thing is a point on which I have also disagreed with some of our theonomist/postmillenialist friends here, some of whom at times have seemed somewhat sympathetic to what I take as your understanding of the medieval church . Even where the land was devoted to “religious purposes” it was not necessarily devoted to Christian ends. You also say “transferred directly to the ruling classes” as if those from whose control it was transferred were… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Make that “You say “at least nominally” as if it were as good as “not at all”. Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply you called nominally outright preferable to genuinely.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

There was a good deal of hypocrisy by the late Middle Ages regarding who benefited from religious property. Large amounts of wealth were siphoned off from monastic lands to benefit the ruling classes. The inability of the Church to clean up this corruption was what fueled the Reformation.

There was a conservative response to the problem (“Fix what’s broken”) and a radical response (“Change everything”). It is fair to argue that the Church would not have been able to fix what was broken without the radical response at its doorstep.

Are you Erasmus or are you Luther?

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

I’m Conrad Grebel.

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

You’re judging a spiritual issue by earthly criteria. The assertion is, since Protestantism was unable to make an everlasting earthly kingdom, clearly the reformation was a mistake. On the contrary, the inability of religious organizations to make an everlasting earthly kingdom is the reason why the reformation was necessary. As is commonly the case, you’re judging Protestantism’s performance by criteria Protestantism doesn’t much care about. It’s Catholicism who claims the incorruptible earthly organization.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

Douthat’s beat is to document and comment upon our society’s current ills from a conservative point of view. From that perspective, the major threat to civilization right now is the power of the state to compel drastic changes in the religious belief and practice of its citizens (e.g., Obergefell).

The Reformers wanted to harness that power to noble ends: to root out ecclesiastical corruption and purify religious practice. But that desire of strength to do good led to consequences which shape our lives to this day.

Nathan James
Member

This is still absurd. Douthat compares the Roman Catholic Church with the European Union. The comparison is that they are both supra-national institutions that restrain the powers of nation-states. He is arguing that the world would be better if the nations of Europe were once again subject to the supra-national RCC. This is a cry for the centralization of authority. The Reformation was a movement away from authoritarianism and centralization. So in this sense Douthat does coherently oppose the principles of the Reformation. But he does so by by an incoherent method, because he blames the rise of secularism on… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

The very idea gives this Catholic the shivers, and not the pleasurable kind. Catholic politicians and heads of state should be informed by their faith in that their decisions should reflect principles of honesty, justice, and respect for human dignity and God-given liberties. As children of a supra-national church, Catholics should always remember that their first loyalty is to God and not the state. Their awareness that Catholics around the world are their brothers and sisters should act as a curb on excessive national pride. But giving political power to the Catholic church? Heaven preserve us.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

Jill,

Nathan did not understand Douthat’s point:

Indeed in secular liberalism there is an implicit tribute to this possibility, a kind of yearning for a vanished Christendom, that arose in part as a response to the horrifying place where secular politics ended up last century. What are our pan-national institutions, our United Nations and European Union, all our interlocking NGOs, if not an attempt to recreate a kind of ecclesiastical power, a churchlike form of sovereignty, on the basis of thinner, less dogmatic but still essentially metaphysical ideas — the belief in human dignity and human rights?

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

Nathan, Secularism and increased state power were not the goals of the Reformation, but they were its inevitable outcome. Revolutions usually have noble goals. The cry of the French Revolution was Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité!; the slogan of the Bolsheviks was “Peace, bread and land”. Who could disagree with those? The problem was the means used to try to achieve those ends. As with those later revolutionaries, the Reformers harnessed the coercive power of the state to implement the reforms they had each designed. Kings, princes, nobles and city councils were persuaded to assume the power of determining religious doctrine and… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

As we discuss this we come no closer to agreement. I’ll leave you with this sharp disagreement.

You say, “Once state power gained effective control over the content of religious belief, secularism was the unavoidable destination.” This is exactly backwards. Religious freedom grew out of the reformation. Prior to the reformation, religious belief was coerced by the state.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

Religious belief was coerced by the state on both sides of the Reformation.

The question was not whether coercion would take place (though the original Protestant “protest” was against a Catholic proposal for partial religious freedom). The matter under dispute was: would the state enforce the Truth as proclaimed by the Universal Church or as selected by each individual king or prince.

After the dust settled, the Protestant demand for cuius regio eius religio (the ruler decides the religion of his region) was adopted, starting us down the road to where we are today: the government defines Truth.

Trey Mays
Member

It’s important to note that Ross Douthat is a Catholic convert from Protestant Pentecostalism.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I wonder what that would be like, and whether he affiliated with one of the charismatic renewal parishes within the Catholic church. I’ve been to a few Pentecostal services, and I would think a new convert to Catholicism might find the service a bit unemotional and cold.

demosthenes1d
Member

John,

I’m curious, are you a cradle Catholic or a convert?

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

The former – though my father-in-law was a very godly and learned Presbyterian elder for whom I had great respect.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

John, in the course of doing some family history research (which, unlike everyone else’s, has not turned up any aristocrats, statesmen, or signers of the Declaration), I found out that my great-great uncle was a founding member of a group called the Arminian Bible Christians who briefly flourished in Devon and Cornwall in the 1800s. They were an offshoot of Methodism, and they were circuit preachers who sometimes had to meet in abandoned chalk mines because of opposition from the local Church of England clergy. From the beginning they had plenty of women preachers who were called “female special agents”… Read more »

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

It can be amazing what one turns up when digging in to the past. I recently discovered that a distant cousin had married the ex-wife of a famous Baptist preacher and congressman many years back.

Andrew Lohr
Member

To the extent Luther was united with God, Luther was the only catholic and the whole church was in schism, so to speak. (Don’t take that too literally.) Couple decades ago I was often visiting an Eastern Orthodox church plant. A visiting priest came one night and went around the room asking “Are you Orthodox?” I answered, “Is the polite answer, No, sir, I am heretical?” (Or, Am I a heretic?) / Same incident could be adjusted: Are you Catholic? Is the polite answer, No, sir, I am schismatic? Different trademark Catholic from adjective catholic ; dittoes for Orthodox/orthodox.

Jane
Member

FWIW in my interactions with big-O Orthodox, they don’t call us heretics, they call us heterodox.

Mike Earl
Guest
Mike Earl

For all his talk of racial harmony and “cultural engagement”, Russell Moore lives in a half million dollar home in the high-end, nearly all-white community (>97% white) of Brentwood, TN. If you doubt me, look it up online (public record). As with other leaders in the cult of diversity (Evangelical and otherwise), they don’t practice what they preach. I recall articles by Moore condemning insufficient racial diversity in churches…yet he lives in a bubble surrounded by wealthy whites. Major disconnect there. At least John Piper lives out his stated values: his Minneapolis home is in a not-so-nice neighborhood in downtown… Read more »

CHer
Guest
CHer

If Pope Francis and Luther (assuming he could speak from the grave) saw the picture, I’m guessing they’d have the same reaction: “Who’s the guy in business attire and what does he have to do with either of us?!”

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

Coincidence that Fox News is largely Roman Catholic?

I agree with your premise here entirely. Reading the article by Leithart is like listening to a prosecuting attorney, with a very one-sided list of the sins of the Reformation, with very few of its glorious acts of obedience to our Lord.

If one wants unity with Roman Catholics, why not start with hallowing the saints of the Reformation on this their 500th birthday?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Ginny, the Catholic church is so huge and so diverse that it is difficult to draw conclusions from something like that. For every Catholic whose politics resemble Pat Buchanan’s, there’s another one whose politics resemble Martin Sheen’s. For every Antonin Scalia, there’s another Sonia Sotomeyor. There was a time in Canada when the leader of every single major political party was Catholic. It’s almost impossible to know a Catholic’s political views without further inquiry. As a Catholic, I have no doubt that those Protestant reformers who defied the church in sincere obedience to conscience are in heaven. Which makes them… Read more »

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

My point was that Fox News, being influenced by Roman Catholics in its leadership, is going to be more likely to run a story critical of the Reformation, rather than one that praises it. I’m not saying that all Roman Catholics are Republican or conservative. Roman Catholics spend A LOT of time honoring big-S Saints. So, in keeping with the whole vibe of Mr. Leithart’s article, one would expect him, in a spirit of unity, to spend this 500th anniversary honoring the small-s saints (Protestant) or big-S saints (RC) who lost their lives and property protesting the corruption of the… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Thanks, Ginny, I understand you now. Do you think that most of the Catholics on Fox are Irish? It had never crossed my mind until I started thinking of their last names!

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

The RC influence on Fox is pretty obvious if you listen to it much. The fact that the in-house religious take on the news of the day is done by Father Jonathan Morris, a Roman Catholic priest, also is a give-away.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Ginny, I had no idea. I have only watched Fox for Bill O’Reilly whom I used to enjoy and who I thought really did try to be “fair and balanced.” Furthermore, I used to like to pretend that the little twinkle he gave right after saying “We’re looking out for you” was directed straight at me.

Matt
Guest
Matt

You can judge whether the Reformation succeeded or failed by noting whether it achieved its goals or not. If it had no goals, like the Industrial Revolution or Bronze Age, then it can’t succeed or fail. So did it have goals? You can’t just say “too soon!” because you can always say that. You say today “there are another couple of thousand years to go before success”, and in 4017 Doug Wilson LXVII will say “just another couple of thousand years and we’ve got this” Decide on a metric, decide on a timeline, and then honestly evaluate it. If your… Read more »

bethyada
Member

I think you are reading too much into the timeframe. It is illustrative. Doug is saying that the trajectory can be measured.

Bugs
Guest
Bugs

Sure, trajectories can be measured. Jesus Himself mentioned signs of the end, such that His coming is near if you see things like what Paul describes in 2 Tim 3:1-5; and what Jesus Himself describes in Matt 24:4-14 and Luke 21:8-28. I am fairly anti-postmillenial (a’la the Proprietor’s doctrine) in the light of these passages, but since the North Sentinelese aren’t allowing missionaries yet, the world might have a little time.