Why Ecclesiastical Diversity Is A Good Thing (or not)

First, an appreciation of traditionalist Roman Catholics (from a Protestant-turned Roman Catholic priest):

I’m not a traditionalist. To quote Fr.Z, I just want to “say the black and do the red”. In other words, I want to live my life as a Catholic priest where I am today in this situation in the twenty first century–realizing that things are not perfect–but knowing that they never have been. Within that I try to be faithful to my vocation as a Benedictine oblate and a Diocesan priest.
But while I am not a traditionalist, I appreciate them and here’s why:

One of the riches of the Catholic Church is her unity and diversity. Within the Catholic big tent we have different religious orders, ecclesial movements and associations of the faithful. Some of these are formally organized and recognized–others are more amorphous but still identifiable. We have different tastes, different trends, different tendencies. The Lord has given us many ways to follow Christ. Each of these different traditions, spiritualities, emphases and disciplines offer particular strengths and weaknesses. Each of them have a particular charism and something to offer the whole church.

The reason I love traditionalists is the same reason I love Franciscans or Charismatic Catholics or Jesuits or Missionaries of Charity or Friars of the Renewal or Priests for Life or Benedictines or Legionnaires….and on and on and on. Each of these groups or sub-categories in the church offer the whole church a particular vision and aspect of the whole truth, and members of each group serve the church best by being faithful to Christ within their path. The traditionalists offer us a reminder of the hermeneutic of continuity. They work hard to bring forward the best in our Catholic traditions of spirituality, liturgy, music, art and architecture. They remind us of the call to radical discipleship and the need to love the Lord with our whole heart.

Does Father Longenecker also appreciate the nuns or the editors of America? I don’t think so. But he doesn’t think he has embraced relativism because the pope is the pope and when popes change things, change is good (what happens when the liturgy changes and the new order of the Mass loses efficacy is a question he doesn’t address):

This is not to endorse a kind of Catholic relativism in which everybody should just do as they please. Within the diversity we have unity in our obedient allegiance to the magisterium. There is an enormous amount of latitude in the Catholic Church, but there boundaries. History shows that any sub group can become corrupt, twisted, heretical or schismatic. It happens. This is why all of the sub groups in the Catholic Church are to be committed not only first and foremost to following Jesus Christ, but also being submissive to the authority of his Vicar on earth. Mother Church properly corrects, adjusts and directs both the individuals and the groups within the church. In this way our diversity is celebrated while our unity is affirmed.

I realize that traditionalists may not appreciate my take on the matter. [Me: they don’t.] They may say, “But we are not a sub group of the church. The Latin Mass is the mass of the ages. This is what all Catholics used to do. We’re keeping the true faith! The others are all wrong.” I understand that opinion, but that’s not actually the teaching of the Catholic Church. Like it or not, the second Vatican Council has taken place. Like it or not, by decree or by popular practice, changes have happened.

But it turns out that even mainline Protestants know diversity is not workable:

I am not staying in the PC(USA) because I believe the theological diversity in the denomination is good for me. I’ve heard this sort of thing from my friends, both evangelicals and progressives. An evangelical will say, “I need to be in a church with [supply name of your favorite liberal] because she challenges me and helps me to think more clearly and truly and not to get into an evangelical rut.” A liberal will say, “I need to be in a church with [supply name of your favorite evangelical] because he challenges me and helps me to think more clearly and truly and not to get into a liberal rut.”

I’m not persuaded by this argument. I have plenty of friends who are more conservative than I am theologically, and plenty of friends who are more liberal than I am theologically. These friends challenge me and help to keep me honest in my theology and discipleship. I appreciate these friends and I am glad they’re in my life. But they are not members of the PC(USA). In fact, given their views on various issues, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for us to be in the same denomination. Yet we can be friends. We can join together in certain kinds of short-term ministry. We can talk theology and challenge each other. We can love each other with the love of Christ. We can be in the church of Jesus Christ together. But our differences are such that we’d have a very hard time being in the same particular church or denomination. If we tried to be a denomination together, we’d exhaust ourselves trying to manage our differences, leaving very little time for mission.

When folks say, “I need so-and-so in my denomination to challenge me and keep me honest,” it almost sounds as if they’re limiting their Christian relationships to people of the same denomination. Yet if this is not true, won’t they be challenged and kept honest by Christian brothers and sisters from other denominations?

. . . In my opinion, one of the main reasons the PC(USA) is failing in its mission and losing members at such a rapid rate is the ineffectiveness that comes from untenable theological diversity. We have been trying so hard to stay together in spite of our differences that we don’t have the energy and focus needed for effective mission. . . . Now I’m all in favor of contexts in which those who are committed to evangelism are challenged to consider the biblical call to social justice. And I’m equally open to conversations that challenge the justice folk to consider how their efforts should be a reflection of the Christian gospel. But I believe that efforts of people actually to do evangelism and efforts of people actually to do justice can be hampered if they can’t agree on what evangelism is or what justice is. A certain measure of theological diversity will strengthen a denomination or a church or a committee. But too much diversity will weaken them and make it almost impossible for them to fulfill their mission. . . .

So, in sum, I’m not staying in the PC(USA) because I need to be in fellowship with people who have different theologies than I have. I have plenty of non-PC(USA) friends who fill this bill, and could always find more if needed. I do believe that a certain amount of theological diversity is healthy in a church or denomination. But, in my opinion, what we have in the PC(USA) is too diverse to support effective mission. We PC(USA) folk are like a team of backpackers who are carrying such a giant tent on our backs that we can’t make it up the mountain we’re supposed to climb. As a result, we’re unable to fulfill our mission. At some point we’ll have to choose, I expect, whether we want to keep hanging on to our big tent and remain missionally stuck, or whether it’s time to carry smaller tents that will enable us to start moving up the mountain.

Would a pope fix this, or does the papacy simply hide fundamental incompatibilities? I’m still waiting for Bryan to think about this.

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86 Comments

  1. Posted February 2, 2014 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Golf paradigm(emphasis is none other than mine):

    Ah, so there it is. The point at last: God is above our debating of theology, online or elsewhere. Wouldn’t that be funny if even if one of us is right, and the other wrong, in such a hypothetical debate on a theological topic, such a person is in fact right, but for all the wrong reasons? God, it may end up in the end, does have a sense of humor.

    Sent from my HTC One™ X, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

  2. Kenneth Winsmann
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    Andrew,

    Sorry I missed your twenty consecutive posts…. super bowl sunday and all….

    Well, oops, Calvin was a knock-off, just stole from Aquinas.

    Not exactly… he was more of a poor mans Augustine… I just prefer Thomas on grace.

    What shall I say to my father in law

    It is not my job to persuade you or your father. That is the role of the Holy Spirit. There you go again getting all Arminian on me.

    I meant to say his excommunication was never *lifted*… obviously…. Your blog may at some point contain something that I find interesting…. until then…

  3. Posted February 3, 2014 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Kenneth,

    You wrote:

    It is not my job to persuade you or your father. That is the role of the Holy Spirit. There you go again getting all Arminian on me.

    Feel free to substantiate your arminian charge.

    By the way, you’re acting more appropriate as of late. I like to think Reformed theology is having its affects. It’s the unsubstantiated charges that get to me. To visit my blog was just an invitation, you need not read any more reformed thought (if that’s what mine is) than you want to.

    You don’t blog, do you?

    Peace to you on your journey.

  4. Kenneth Winsmann
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Robert,

    I generally try not to ignore the facts of history or pretend as if they are irrelevant. I am incredibly skeptical of the Roman Church’s claims, and if you don’t think there are legitimate reasons to be given the way Rome hasONE never been able to be as united as it claims and its sins throughout history, then you aren’t paying attention. You can’t claim infallibility and the pope as the solution to Christian division and then pretend as if things like the TWOAvignon papacy, THREEthe conflicting lists of episcopal succession,FOUR the fact that Rome played almost no role in most of the earliest councils, and so much more don’t call that into question. You can’t claim to have the same authority as the Apostles but then pretend as ifFIVE not having the same inspiration is irrelevant.

    I see you have mastered the art of dumping an endless stream of unsubstantiated assertions. You also generally demand an uneven burden of proof and an uneven burden of acceptance for the RCC cs your own reformed claims which should equally fail your insatiable no-stone-left-unturned-no-nuance-allowed skepticism. These things make for great rhetoric and propoganda but do little for those with intellectual honesty. If apparent contradictions and historical difficulties are a problem then you need to toss out the inerrancy of scripture as well. Watch how this plays out the day you decide to be consistent

    If Rome the bible did not claim infallibility, the skeptic’s case would be far less powerful. The point that you do it does and offer it as the bromide to solve all problems is what creates Rome’s the bibles problem. It’s no accident that the “we’re the infallible church”“innerrancy of scripture” is not heard so much from Francis and other popes since V2 most protestant scholars and “liberal” mainline denominations anymore. Too much historical work has been done to make it credible at all.

    See how easy it is to play that game?

    Calvin and Luther have not only failed to convince me but failed to convince very much of anyone. Lutherans and Calvinists of all stripes are laregely irrelevant to the face of christianity. Pentacostals and charismatics are quickly blending together with baptists and forming a new kind of hybrid denomination that is quickly becoming the norm in the protestant world. With founders as foul and crude as the two you lift up who can blame them? When a flock has a reputation for being as rude, distant, cold, and uncharitable as yours who would want to join besides those looking for an intellectual stepping stone? Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt. The bride is not perfect but she has at least been identified with certainty from the beginning. We continue to grow into all truth while protestants and various other “isms” continue to grow into something different as the centuries go on. You can keep your schism. Keep your dedication to fallen men who have been excommunicated for their views and doctrines. Ill take the Church. Ill take Tradition. Ill take Christ.

  5. Posted February 3, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Will any catholic read this? Will any respond?

    http://andrewbuckingham1.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/so-on-a-scale-of-1-to-10/

    I want to hear what you have to say.

    Yo.

  6. Kenneth Winsmann
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Andrew,

    No I dont blog at all. My wife would kill me. She already hates the amount of time I spend just hanging out in comboxes! It probably is an imprudent use of my time. In any case ive been trying to cut back on my time online ( no more phone posts) and wouldnt want to add to it by starting up my own gig. Plus, im still young (early twenties), in school, and forming my own views and beliefs with a growing fam to take care of! No time to be fully “armed and operational”. Good luck with your blog though! Hope you get a solid following

  7. Posted February 3, 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    .

    My wife would kill me. S

    You have no idea

    PS I’m off work today tending to my wife who is home ill

    You won’t hear from me for a while. This is called the dog house.

    That is, if she ever goes to this webpage..yo

  8. Posted February 3, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Early twenties, with a young son (2 months now?) At Darryls blog?

    Carl trueman wrote that this blog is a place to hide your children from.

    Yes, no more phone posting kenloses. Your pastor may need to give you marriage counseling. I’m not sure he’s the best, although, I know experience ain’t everyring. May e the pope could help even me.

    Not. I need some one else. Who could that be, yo?

    Scene.

  9. Posted February 3, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    admiring Simon Heffer, it is one of those things a young person should never, ever do.

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2013/08/cigar-smoke-and-mirrors-and-tr.php

    Sent from my HTC One™ X, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

    You’ve been great folks. Really.

  10. kent
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    We kind of ran off the last scatterbrain who used filthy cursing and turned it into a truckstop pickup parlour….

  11. mikelmann
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Ken, you’re in your young twenties with a family? As a fellow human being – not as a religious opponent – I urge you: go away! Take care of the family, read books, and throw back a few beers with your friends. Don’t put stuff in comboxes that you will second guess and/or be sheepish about later. Like this paragraph:
    ____________
    Calvin and Luther have not only failed to convince me but failed to convince very much of anyone. Lutherans and Calvinists of all stripes are laregely irrelevant to the face of christianity. Pentacostals and charismatics are quickly blending together with baptists and forming a new kind of hybrid denomination that is quickly becoming the norm in the protestant world. With founders as foul and crude as the two you lift up who can blame them? When a flock has a reputation for being as rude, distant, cold, and uncharitable as yours who would want to join besides those looking for an intellectual stepping stone? Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt. The bride is not perfect but she has at least been identified with certainty from the beginning. We continue to grow into all truth while protestants and various other “isms” continue to grow into something different as the centuries go on. You can keep your schism. Keep your dedication to fallen men who have been excommunicated for their views and doctrines. Ill take the Church. Ill take Tradition. Ill take Christ
    __________

    I won’t take the time to rebut this as it will only encourage you. Go live your life. Enjoy your youth. Don’t do stuff like this.

  12. Kenneth Winsmann
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    mike,

    Thanks for your concern! I am looking for a nice healthy balance. These comboxes can help challenge and inspire study in various disciplines and important theological concepts. Its an educational thing for me. The reformed enjoy a nice intellectual pedigree and so I think reformed thought deserves to be considered and challenged. It isn’t my goal to be offensive or write posts that I may be sheepish about later. It is a historical fact that Luther was crude and vulgar. Calvin a cut throat leader with no tolerance for dissent. The number one thing ive learned since frequenting Daryls blog is that reformed people are pretty rude and crass. Look back on all the posts from the past year and tell me you don’t see it. Everyone says “oh dont judge reformed based off of this blog we are the hard ass bad boys who do it on purpose” but this same experience is replicated all over the internet and even from certain pulpits. It seems to be just a core aspect of reformed tradition. Do you deny this?

  13. sean
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Meh, it’s a common riff in RC circles about Luther being rude and crude and such is indicative of heretics and those under the sway of Satan and sin. It would work better, I suppose, if when we opened the paper there wasn’t another story of sexual deviance and RC clergy and religious and the now requisite cover up. Plus, I got RC seminary stories that make Luther look like he was part of a temperance society. You’ll have to sell it somewhere else, Ken.

  14. Posted February 3, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Kenneth, you uncovered that Reformed are sinners. Congrats. I read something in Genesis 3 along those lines.

    You know well the internet has a way of aggrivating our sinful tendencies. Nothing much new under the sun, at is says, somewhere or other..

    Peace.

  15. mikelmann
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Ken, to partially respond, this is obviously not a milquetoast forum. It tends toward polemics, but our combox voices are not the same as our real-life voices. This should not surprise you unless you think football players run around their neighborhoods tackling people.

    Then, the purpose of CtC is to poach Reformed Christians. I’m not going to argue about this one because, despite the balderdash about dialogue, it’s a rigidly controlled propaganda machine. So how do you reasonably expect to be received here?

    Then, frankly, you say ridiculous things. Don’t like Luther’s vocabulary? It’s a pimple next to the mountain of RC atrocities.

    And that will end my correspondence with you. If you waste your youth in comboxes, it’s not on my conscience.

  16. Robert
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Ken,

    We continue to grow into all truth while protestants and various other “isms” continue to grow into something different as the centuries go on.

    Tell me again how this is happening when even Benedict admits that no one knows what in the heck V2 means since it allows for people to hold contradictory opinions to confess it, that liberals are openly tolerated, and so forth.

    Calvin a cut throat leader with no tolerance for dissent.

    Cut Mr. Calvin some slack, he grew up under the Roman regime where the answer to heresy wasn’t debate but rather murder. Jan Hus ring a bell? The show trial of Luther at Worms?

    Keep your dedication to fallen men who have been excommunicated for their views and doctrines.

    Wait, it’s better to maintain apostolic succession that includes scoundrels who were never excommunicated? Color me confused.

    Ill take the Church. Ill take Tradition. Ill take Christ.

    If you really wanted to be catholic, you’d be a Protestant.

    Calvin and Luther have not only failed to convince me but failed to convince very much of anyone.

    Well if you’re counting heads and include all the nominal believers since the Reformation, then sure. Rome is a bastion of nominally convinced, poorly catechized people. If it makes you feel good to have so many, well, then I’ll give this point to you.

    Meanwhile, Rome has never recovered from the Protestant Reformation.

    Lutherans and Calvinists of all stripes are laregely irrelevant to the face of christianity. Pentacostals and charismatics are quickly blending together with baptists and forming a new kind of hybrid denomination that is quickly becoming the norm in the protestant world.

    Actually, if gross numbers and stats are correct. This “Hybrid denomination” will probably outnumber Roman Catholics in our lifetime. Since you guys are so fond of the numbers game, that must mean Protestantism broadly considered must be correct.

    As far as Lutherans and Calvinists being irrelevant, I’ll grant that a lot of professing Protestants don’t know why they are Protestants. Kinda like Roman Catholicism.

    You also generally demand an uneven burden of proof and an uneven burden of acceptance for the RCC cs your own reformed claims which should equally fail your insatiable no-stone-left-unturned-no-nuance-allowed skepticism. These things make for great rhetoric and propoganda but do little for those with intellectual honesty. If apparent contradictions and historical difficulties are a problem then you need to toss out the inerrancy of scripture as well.

    The trouble is we have so much more historical documentation for Rome than we do for the time that the Bible was written, so the case for apparent contradictions being more than apparent is far greater for Roman Catholicism than it is for Scripture. As far as intellectual honesty, when you guys can admit that the author of Unam Sanctum did not mean what V2 says no salvation outside the church means, then we can talk.

    The selective skepticism charge is bunk. If you guys want to claim that the mass is a miracle, then you better be able to prove it. When Jesus healed people, nobody was going around saying that the healing was imperceptible to the senses.

    The bride is not perfect but she has at least been identified with certainty from the beginning.

    Good one. Which list of Peter’s successors is the right one again? Where’s the evidence for mono episcopacy in Rome prior to the end of the second century? How did the people who lived during the Avignon papacy know which pope was the true one? Wait, they couldn’t could they. That’s why you needed a council to sort it out.

  17. Kenneth Winsmann
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Sean,

    So, again, Tu quoque? Now I see why Tom doesn’t offer up his religious point of view. It would be so refreshing to see reformed thought defended on its own merits rather than hearing the ol d”yeah but your no better off because….” time and time again.

    Mike,

    Lol waste your youth? you guys…

  18. sean
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Ken, I didn’t give you ‘tu quoque’. I readily hold that RC atrocities so far outpace Luther’s crude language or Calvin’s meanie aristocratic tendencies, that there is no realistic comparison. I saw Luther’s crudeness outdone just within my first year at RC seminary. You drew the participants in the comparison, blame yourself. Maybe it’s a good example, how you aren’t meant for a combox.

  19. Robert
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Ken,

    So, again, Tu quoque? Now I see why Tom doesn’t offer up his religious point of view. It would be so refreshing to see reformed thought defended on its own merits rather than hearing the ol d”yeah but your no better off because….” time and time again.

    If you haven’t found Reformed thought defended here and elsewhere on its own merits, then you aren’t paying attention. As far as the tu quoque—When you guys stop making your apologetic argument based on the fact that Rome is more united and more epistemologically certain than Protestantism, you’ll probably see less of the “you’re no better off.” Don’t expect to be able to bemoan Protestant division as the sign that we’re wrong and get away with ignoring the severe troubles in your own camp.

    We can debate which side has more evidence on their side. But if any of us gives an answer to the other based on the fact that the other side has flaws, don’t expect that to work if one’s side has the exact same flaws.

  20. mikelmann
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Ken mocks well-intentioned advice and horribly overestimates his arguments. I bet his normal human spidey senses are also inoperative.

  21. Posted February 3, 2014 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Kenneth – Thanks for your concern! I am looking for a nice healthy balance.

    Erik – In light of the quote that Mikelmann posted right above that, that is hilarious.

    Here’s Kenneth having a nice healthy balance in musical appreciation:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaBK0dBV47E

  22. Posted February 3, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Sean,

    Tell the one about the Fat Man.

  23. Posted February 3, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Robert – Actually, if gross numbers and stats are correct. This “Hybrid denomination” will probably outnumber Roman Catholics in our lifetime. Since you guys are so fond of the numbers game, that must mean Protestantism broadly considered must be correct.

    Erik – The RCC’s growth as a percentage of world population has been flat to shrinking a bit since Vatican II. Protestants are actually growing faster. Neither is growing as fast as Islam. Bryan Cross actually gave me these numbers last week.

    http://www.gordonconwell.edu/resources/documents/statusofglobalmission.pdf

    Percentage of world population that is Roman Catholic per Gordon-Conwell:

    1800 – 11.78%
    1900 – 16.46%
    1970 – 17.99%
    Mid-2000 – 17.04%
    Mid-2014 – 16.93%
    2025 – 16.66%

    Meanwhile Islam:

    1800 – 10.01%
    2025 – 33.74%

  24. Posted February 3, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Kenneth – So, again, Tu quoque?

    Erik – The Tu quoque doesn’t apply in this case because your charge was against the behavior of certain Protestants and Sean responded with the behavior of certain Catholics. We’re both subject to the same Decalogue. Unless you think putting the label “Catholic” on something excuses bad acts.

    Early 20s is showing.

  25. Cletus van Damme
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Erik,

    “Protestants are actually growing faster”

    Confessional? Or we talking AoG/SDA/Pentecostals.

    And let’s not forget:
    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/08/16/6-reasons-why-mormons-are-beating-evangelicals-in-church-growth/

    And (this from a pro-lds sociologist so take with grain of salt):
    “Koltko-Rivera—who has taught more than a dozen statistics courses at NYU—found that Mormon growth slowed after 1990 because the LDS church expanded its missionary efforts into many new areas where missionary work was more difficult, such as the former Soviet Bloc nations, and other countries in Asia and Africa. However, several of these countries now show huge LDS growth. Specifically, Russia saw an 83 percent increase in Mormon membership from the end of 1999 through 2009.
    Koltko-Rivera also found that the slowdown of Mormon growth is about to end. A combination of factors—a forthcoming increase in missionary numbers; improvements in missionary preparation; the recent formation of Mormon “stakes” (dioceses) in places like Russia and India—has set the stage for major Mormon expansion worldwide.”

  26. Posted February 3, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    kenloses, rude and crass? I don’t promote porn or hip hop.

    Try sarcastic and irreverent.

  27. Kenneth Winsmann
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Robert,

    Robert,

    Tell me again how this is happening when even Benedict admits that no one knows what in the heck V2 means since it allows for people to hold contradictory opinions to confess it, that liberals are openly tolerated, and so forth.

    V2 was an ambiguous council…. it also gave no new definitions…. so it doesnt really matter how ambiguous it might have been. If V2 is unclear while trying to repeat already established dogma you just fall back to previous definitions that arent ambiguous…. Its really not difficult Rob. The Church grows closer and closer to the truth with every INFALLIBLE definition or condemnation given…. meanwhile…. your micro gatherings splinter divide and mutate under the tyrannical regime of semper reformata with no end in sight.

    Wait, it’s better to maintain apostolic succession that includes scoundrels who were never excommunicated? Color me confused.

    Yes. Much better. Read up on Athanasius.

    As far as Lutherans and Calvinists being irrelevant, I’ll grant that a lot of professing Protestants don’t know why they are Protestants. Kinda like Roman Catholicism.

    Being uncatechized and being a blip on histories radar are two different concepts. Your micro-gathering does not matter to the world. The Church established by Jesus Christ has shaped the world we live in for thousands of years…. see the difference?

    The trouble is we have so much more historical documentation for Rome than we do for the time that the Bible was written, so the case for apparent contradictions being more than apparent is far greater for Roman Catholicism than it is for Scripture

    You have said this before and its still a bad answer on so many levels. Give your reasons to Dan Barker, Ludemann, Ehrman, Carrier, etc. and see how much your lack of “historical documentation” is helpful. The point is that you do not believe in biblial inerrancy because of the brut facts of the text you believe in innerrancy ( at least in the old testament) because Christ considered it to be God breathed and authoritative. You can make that case without appealing to biblical inerrancy and merely appeal to history. If the ressurection is true…. then His claims to divinity are true. If His claims to divinity are true then His teaching is to be trusted and we are to follow His example. But why and how the new testament? This is a different animal all together. A question that you cant answer from the text itself. A question that takes us to Chrch history. We must now consider “core canons”, development of doctrine and trust the orthodoxy of the ECFs….. but then those same fathers speak of bishops in the place of Christ! Apostolic succession, eucharist as sacrifice, baptismal regeneration, etc etc etc. You accept the testimony of these men on canon unquestioningly and yet toss out the rest or alter it as you see fit.

    Biblical innerrancy isnt something that we prove to a skeptic by flipping open the pages of the gospels and reading out loud. We dont read deuteronomy and Philemon or 3 Peter and think WOW! Amazing! This book is definitely inspired by God! No humkan author could have ever even imaginably written something this mind blowing!” Innerrancy and inspiration is a conclusion reached when other theological principles are already brought to the table with us! Principles that are in large part given to us by a historical record that is undeniably more Catholic than not. You are putting the cart before the horse. You want to investigate historical argumentation before examining theological principles. In fact, you want to REFUTE theological principles with debatable historical evidence. This is the same mistake Ehrman and Ludeman make. RCs wont ever be able to prove infalliblilty if you want a definitve answer to any and every historical difficulity or challenge. But why demand that of Rome when you dont demand that of the NIV? You have moved the goal posts friend. I call foul.

    The selective skepticism charge is bunk. If you guys want to claim that the mass is a miracle, then you better be able to prove it. When Jesus healed people, nobody was going around saying that the healing was imperceptible to the senses.

    Is salvation a miracle? An example of divine intervention and the mirculous transformation of sinner to saint? Is this perceptiable to the senses? Besides that the Church has a whole host of AMAZING miracles throughout her history to testify to her truth claims. Thinking of the miracle of the sun or Lourdes France.

    Good one. Which list of Peter’s successors is the right one again? Where’s the evidence for mono episcopacy in Rome prior to the end of the second century? How did the people who lived during the Avignon papacy know which pope was the true one? Wait, they couldn’t could they. That’s why you needed a council to sort it out.

    Another example of you wanting to debate historical difficulties before ironing down theological principles that lead to our historical conclusions. Catholics dont claim infalliblilty because its just soooooo obvious from history. Niether do prots claim biblical inerrancy because its jut soooooo obvious from the texts. Play fair. Let the goal posts stand where they are.

  28. Bub Ess
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Yo Kenny,
    Rattlesnake Bub here, at your service and all that jazz.
    Thanks for sharing your interpretation.

    Yeah, I laid it on a bit thick with Bryan, but come on/get serious.
    Byrome darling is over here defending romanism, yet as an ex P&R churchman he still can’t give us a proper exposition of the prot principium cognoscendi/principle of knowing aka Sola Scriptura according to its own terms.

    Like what’s that all about?
    But Bryan doesn’t patronize us in all this?
    A hypocritical paradigm monger can not anywhere anyhow ever be called to accounts on his own terms in the real not Roman world?
    Somebody can lead with their chin and confidently expect that nobody is going to take a pop at the obvious?
    Like just how stupid/naive/supine do you take our sense of discernment to be?
    That being a doormat is what contending for the faith is all about?

    Oops, we forgot. Not that ignorance is the mother of devotion aka fides implicta, but the suppressed premise: the infallible charism operates by ad hoc osmosis on the lay unappointed members of the shadow magisterium just as it does on Crazy Francis, so they feel free to think nobody can question their infallible pronouncements or mock the ridiculous and hypocritical ones. And they gets huffy if they do.

    But the paradigm in operation here is do not answer a fool according to his pear-uh-dime paradigm, lest you become a papal poofter just like him, brainwashed and all ready for Ash Wednesday.

    Just because somebody won’t argue from Scripture, history or reason, but on the basis of the superstition of the Magisterium alone, if not Bryan’s personal performative possession of the apostolic rabbits foot bones, does not mean we have to answer the ridiculous non sequiturs, hypocritical double standards or intellectual buffoonery respectfully, lest we get rated with vipers.

    But if it does, the Roman anti-venom is still worse than the bite.

    Which is to say, if you stay home and don’t ever stray from the CtC reservation, you won’t ever get bit in the first place.

    Which is also, we thinks, good advice for the thin skinned and paradigmatically compromised hypocrites masquerading as intelligent, allbeit infalluble, interpreters of the little papa.

    chears

  29. Robert
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Bob,

    You forgot rule number one, and that is ending every post with “In the Peace of Christ” reveals one’s patient and godly nature. Isn’t it obvious? Those who don’t clearly aren’t godly, and their refusal to put up with nonsense just gives more proof of that.

    In the principled paradigm of pretentious papalism,

    Robert

  30. Bub Ess
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Yo Rubbert, stop dissing me man and spell my name rite.

    And lay off the ‘in the peace of my phd.’ chap.
    He means well and our resident anti polemicist polemicist is buzzing around again looking for a place, any place to land his Piper Gadfly.

    cheario

  31. Posted February 3, 2014 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Folks, I owe an apology. Earlier today I put on a display of unseemly compassion to young Ken. Not only was it contrary to decorum but to good sense as well. By way of explanation, my wife is a social worker and sometimes her “stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves” attitude rubs off on me. So for the record I take unequivocal responsibility for my actions while recognizing it’s mostly her fault.

    If a basketball player steps on the floor, he can expect nothing less than full effort from his opponent. He gets no special treatment for limitations in height, quickness, or ability. So if you want to continue to stuff Ken’s attempted shots or posterize him on one of your own, have at it. It’s not our fault CtC sent a commenter from their D-League.

  32. Kenneth Winsmann
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    mike,

    First of all I would own you theology nerds on the court.

    But please keep on with your amazing “posterizing”. Its every Catholics best friend. With a witness like the reformed Catholics don’t even need arguments. I wasn’t saying “Hey you guys should stop picking on me”. I was commenting on how you treat Bryan and how wonderful of a witness that is for the Catholic cause. Keep it up.

    video of myself dunking on old life
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-S9W9xZikkA

  33. AB
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    KW, you are super cute.

    Bye,
    AB

  34. AB
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Good luck with your blog though! Hope you get a solid following

    Haha my blog was a joke. It’s gone. Remember the fate of the death star?

    Can’t wait until star wars 7. Tee hee, my children love this kind of stuff. You know, blogging and all.

    Wait till your kids blog on you. Sorry but I need to stop now.

    Go open a blog. Now. Peace.

  35. AB
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    http://covenantnurture.wordpress.com/about/

    A few days ago, I blogged on the passing of my little brother. I linked to a book Death in the home, by BM Palmer. It was reblogged by “brad” at the link above.

    Well, I wanted to create a blog that brad has already created. No need for me to reinvent the wheel. This gave me all the reason I needed to retire from my 8 day blogging career. Got a few hits tho. What a computer game this all is..

    Anyway, my point: let the record show..

    If anyone wants me, I’m on Twitter.

    Grace and peace.

  36. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 9, 2014 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    AB
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 7:26 am | Permalink
    KW, you are super cute.

    Bye,
    AB

    AB
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 7:38 am | Permalink
    Good luck with your blog though! Hope you get a solid following

    Haha my blog was a joke. It’s gone. Remember the fate of the death star?

    Can’t wait until star wars 7. Tee hee, my children love this kind of stuff. You know, blogging and all.

    Wait till your kids blog on you. Sorry but I need to stop now.

    Go open a blog. Now. Peace.

    AB
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 7:45 am | Permalink
    http://covenantnurture.wordpress.com/about/

    A few days ago, I blogged on the passing of my little brother. I linked to a book Death in the home, by BM Palmer. It was reblogged by “brad” at the link above.

    Well, I wanted to create a blog that brad has already created. No need for me to reinvent the wheel. This gave me all the reason I needed to retire from my 8 day blogging career. Got a few hits tho. What a computer game this all is..

    Anyway, my point: let the record show..

    If anyone wants me, I’m on Twitter.

    Grace and peace.

    Three signoffs in a row, Mr. Hello-I-Must-be-Going. Captain Spaulding, am I the only one who gets you?

    Your blog was good and sincere. Best you killed it, then. This blog lives on.

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