Imagine if You Were Orthodox Presbyterian

John Zmirak is back to pester (unintentionally) Jason and the Callers with an explanation for what conservative or traditionalist Roman Catholic culture is so weird. He thinks the problem is numerical. Not as many good Roman Catholics exist as “Sunday Catholics”:

How many people in America actually believe all the central truths of the Catholic Catechism? Public opinion surveys have revealed that high percentages of Sunday Mass-goers do not hold, or perhaps never learned about, transubstantiation (the change of bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood in the Eucharist). Depending on which faction of the Catholic fragment you belong to, you can chalk up that ignorance to either the collapse of Catholic schooling, the dumbing down of the liturgy, or even to the suppression during the 1970s of the “unconscious catechesis” that used to occur every time the most unlettered peasant knelt for the Host and reverently took it on his tongue from the blessed hands of a priest.

I don’t know that public opinion surveys have asked “Sunday Catholics” what they believe about the physical resurrection of Christ, or the Immaculate Conception, but if average Catholics believe what I was taught in my Catholic high school, then they are heretics – and probably don’t even know or care.

Practice is not a perfect mirror of what we believe, but surely it tells us something that the rates of divorce, premarital sex, and cohabitation are not a whit lower (and in some cases higher) among Roman Catholics than among most churchgoing Protestants. The explosive growth of annulments is partly an outright abuse on the part of bishops, and partly a recognition that many Catholics enter the sacrament with “defective intent.” Remember that if either party going into a marriage considers divorce and remarriage a possible option it invalidates the marriage. So most of the annulments given out nowadays are quite likely valid – unlike too many Catholic weddings. . . .

The implication of this sad fact is clear: On a grave moral issue where several popes have invoked their full moral authority short of making an infallible declaration, 95 percent of U.S. Catholics (the number is surely higher in most of Europe) have rejected the guidance of Rome. They are not “bad Catholics” so much members of a new, dissenting sect – which happens to occupy most of the seats in most of the churches, and many of the pulpits and bishop’s offices, too.

This means that the market for serious Roman Catholic reflection and works is small:

A good friend of mine who works for a major Catholic publisher reported to me the results of some very pricey market research his company undertook, to turn up the actual size of the “orthodox Catholic market.” Many thousands of dollars later, his company learned that if you count Catholics who go to Mass more than once a week, or spend a single dollar on Catholic books or other media, or volunteer for any parish activity, the grand total for the United States of America is no higher than 1.2 million.

That is the whole Catholic market. No wonder there isn’t enough revenue to go around. All the quarrels between traditionalists and Novus Ordo conservatives, between the lovers of Dorothy Day and fans of John Courtney Murray, are fights for pieces of this tiny pie. A pop tart, really.

And pop tarts aren’t health food. It isn’t normal for the Church to consist just of saints and zealots, ascetical future “blesseds,” and Inquisition re-enactors. Faith is meant to be yeast that yields a hearty loaf of bread. But since 1968 there has been nothing left to leaven, and we find ourselves eating yeast. (My apologies to English readers who love their Marmite.) The last time I was at the Catholic Marketing Network, which includes all the leading companies in the orthodox Catholic market, most of the attendees seemed to be people who’d bought their own booths – so the whole day was spent watching vendors try to sell each other their stuff. (“I’ll trade you three copies of The Secret of the Rosary for one of those 3-D Divine Mercy holograms.”) . . .

The weirdness, bitterness, crankiness, and the general mediocrity that pervade the Catholic subculture – from its newspapers to its TV shows, from most of its tiny colleges to the poorly-penned books, and sloppy, sentimental blogs that flood the tiny market of conservative Catholic readers – is the direct result of having few people to choose from. Right off the bat, 95 percent of potential applicants for any position have disqualified themselves for doctrinal reasons.

Well, John should console himself. At least Roman Catholics have newspapers, tv-shows, and colleges even if it is weird. With only 30,000 in the OPC, the best we can do is a summer Family Bible Camp at some state park in need of serious renovations. And even if you are the much “bigger” PCA, at 300,000 large, the best you can do is one college and a magazine that is sometimes in print.

Even so, Zmirak makes a useful point. When your numbers are low, your options for communicating are meager. If you want to blame this on the free market system — maybe Pope Francis would — then consider how much you can subsidize with only 30,000 small donors. If a potential market of 30,000 doesn’t provide the kind of scale that makes modern media affordable or even conceivable, the potential giving of 30,000 will hardly allow you to subsidize a college or radio station.

So if conservative Roman Catholics feel marginal, try being a conservative Presbyterian.

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54 Comments

  1. George
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    All true, but unfortunately, those papists aren’t the only ones to suffer such demise. For several years back in the mid-90’s I found myself in the unfortunate position (by virtue of having been a 7th/8th grade Sunday School teacher) of having to pick up the slack for a wayward pastor in a Lutheran congregation and continue where he left off catechizing them. What I witnessed first-hand was a parental view of this process as a “rite of passage” instead of what should have been the first step in these kids’ deeper exploration to the Scriptures and into, as they say over at MR, why they believe what they believe. In other words, they saw catechesis and subsequent confirmation as a one time deal whereby they could stop attending services, at their parent’s whim, and drift away, because they’d had that U.S. Gov’t seal of approval as once-for-all completion of their “religious” requirements.

    If that sounds bad, and it is, where ARE those in Protestant “communions” in the progression of their beliefs and the gradual strengthening of their faith in the study of God’s word? Sadly, it seems to be lacking all the way around, papist or protestant.

  2. louis
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    The poor quality of instruction in Reformed churches is exhibited in the Callers themselves, who often don’t seem really to understand Reformed doctrine, despite supposedly coming out of Reformed churches and even seminaries.

  3. Stephen
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Question from a “recovering evangelical” who is still trying to get a grasp on many aspects of Reformed theology: are schools, colleges, and radio stations legitimate recipients of church funds?

  4. Cletus van Damme
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Louis,

    “despite supposedly”

    Maybe you can ask them for transcripts or the church rolls. If they won’t provide, you’ve solved the case and can move on to helping Trump out.

  5. Marsh Wiggle
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    louis,
    Perhaps you have other knowledge or experience not mentioned in your comment; but as it stands, it is pure post hoc reasoning. This is even the case, if you mean to include the widest swath possible of Christendom (apolitical) within your use of the term, “Reformed” (are you Lutheran?).

    Why should the Callers be viewed as typically representative of the products of the strictest Confessionally Reformed denominations? Do they not exaggerate their own importance, thinking of themselves as the hole in the dike? Where is the flood of converts? Any day now… seriously?

    This is not to excuse poor preaching and instruction, in the church or schools. But how much do you know, for instance, about the standard of teaching in the URC? Or even the drifting CRC?

    Do the Callers represent cradle-OPCers? How many of them are former elders? How many of them went to seminary, after adopting the TULIP as their State Flower in college? No, they don’t really seem to understand RT, or prioritize the elements of theology that RT sets to the fore. Is that the fault of their instructors? What about the majority who go nowhere?

    I don’t mind valid criticism of our churches, of our catechesis, of our practice, our preaching, our piety, etc. But the blanket put-down deserves a response.

  6. kent
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Cletus, a member of a truly Reformed church would have to demonstrate a mastery of the basic theology and lingo and code words and phrases inherent in the faith. Just like any other club or group that one seeks to join.

    If they were ordained or appointed to office this would be proven to a much further level and held to account for their time in office.

    When alleged former Reformed members/officers cannot display even the lowest levels of Reformed theology, their claim to have belonged is suspicious. I guess some can deliberately misstate it to be malicious.

    I can drum up Evangelical theology and lingo in a jiffy despite not caring much for it, or using it, over the last 15 years. You don’t forget these things once they are in your skull.

  7. Cletus van Damme
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Kent,

    Did Horton (or the editor of Modern Reformation which setup their exchange) or Mathison claim Cross did not have a basic understanding of Reformed theology when taking time to engage him? Why’d they even bother wasting time with clearly ignorant people who don’t grasp the lowest levels of Reformed theology?

  8. Posted February 5, 2014 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Marsh – How many of them went to seminary?

    Erik – Jeremy Tate & Jason Stellman did some seminary and remain eternally grateful for the robust theological teaching and rich Christian fellowship they received before outright rejecting said teaching and turning their backs on said fellowship.

    It’s complicated.

  9. kent
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Cletus, these people are showing “reformed theology” as if they claimed to be long-time Yankees fans and when asked who is their favourite Yankees they say “Yaz.” Or their favourite Beatle is “Zippy.”

    And I understand that people leaving will cast things in a bad light and sometimes dwell on minor points and blow them up to make some kind of agitprop.

  10. Posted February 5, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    I think one of the reasons Jason & The Callers are so keen to recruit conservative P&R folks is they know they are a minority and they know they have a fight on their hands in their new church. They know we are true believers and are, for the most part, relatively intelligent compared to the general population. Who would you rather take into battle? A conservative P&R convert or a Roman Catholic cradle who probably won’t give you the time of day?

  11. Cletus van Damme
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Kent,

    Okay so published reformed scholars took time to engage them but I guess they should’ve ran it by you first to find out the real deal. Maybe you can send them your number since you clearly have a mastery of the subject in evaluating opponents they are lacking. I bet Stellman was putting drugs in the punch at his church to deceive his flock and elders from discerning he was out to lunch with understanding the confessions.

  12. kent
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Cletus, I accept that there is a money and publicity game out there where the members don’t bite each other too hard. Or they aren’t listening to the other side, or haven’t read the massive book that they are endorsing.

    People who aren’t accepting the standard line that comes from a decent grasp of the WCF and/or 3FU will be fenced off and hopefully find another area more to their liking.

    So I was walking past a farmer’s field and saw a cow and said “hello cow” and the cow said “i’m not a cow, i’m a pig”

    doesn’t make it a cow

  13. kent
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Erik: It’s complicated.

    Outsiders keep failing to remember that we have so much theology down pat, along with about 1000 things that we take for granted when someone says they are of our denomination (until grossly proven otherwise.)

    They don’t know what these things are and we aren’t going to go around stating them unless it is of some use…

  14. louis
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Cletus, I withdraw the word “supposedly.” My point stands. As for why neither Horton nor Mathison (supposedly?) didn’t address it, I don’t know; perhaps it simply wasn’t a central issue in those particular exchanges. What I can tell you is that I am not the only one to notice the Callers’ lack of an understanding of Reformed doctrine. Numerous other Reformed believers in various other venues over the last several years have commented on it as well.

    Marsh, I used the Callers as one example. My belief that instruction is lacking in the churches is based on other experiences as well. It’s probably great in some sectors of the church, but I do believe it is a problem overall.

  15. kent
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Cletus, I probably hold out a wider umbrella for who is a believer in Christ than a lot of people in my boat.

    it’s just that if you are claiming to be representing a certain denomination that has plainly expressed views, then you should be stating those views.

    If you cannot state those views from ignorance or malfeasance, please stop pretending you represent those views. It’s a big world, go find a job with a denomination that is more one’s cup of tea. Doesn’t mean they are a heretic…

  16. Muddy Gravel
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Maybe Stephen should ask Petros.

  17. Cletus van Damme
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Louis,

    “perhaps it simply wasn’t a central issue in those particular exchanges”

    Both were focused on sola scriptura. Kind of a big deal in Reformed theology. And the Horton/Cross exchange was published in Modern Reformation. Maybe Horton and Mathison aren’t really understanding it either though and the cadre of erudite reformed combox posters you’ve encountered over the years are the true arbiters of reformed theology and evaluators of who understands it properly – you all probably could’ve taught Stellman’s elders a few things since they clearly didn’t see he was bungling Reformed theology while heading his church.

    Your point would carry more weight if you just went ahead and pointed out their errors and misunderstandings instead of these vague accusations. You can engage them in the CtC comboxes – Andrew McCallum for one has been a fine representative from the presby side over the years – they don’t filter criticism even though they moderate to keep things on point.

  18. Zrim
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Stephen, it’s only legitimate for schools, colleges, and radio stations to receive church funds from neo-Calvinists. Sort of like how in Catholicism if either party going into a marriage considers divorce and remarriage a possible option it invalidates the marriage, if these institutions receive funds from 2kers, it invalidates the whole chalupa.

  19. Kenneth Winsmann
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Louis,

    Amazing that no one accused Jason of not understanding reformed doctrine when he was prosecuting the Liethart case… Could you speculate on why that might be?

  20. louis
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Cletus, as I’ve mentioned, their misunderstandings of Reformed doctrine have been pointed out numerous times in numerous places, so they are not “vague accusations.” And of course I’m not about to go back through tens of thousands of blog comments to point them out again for you.

    Your point about Horton and Mathison is vacuous. Just because they didn’t explicitly address this issue in those particular exchanges does not mean they think the Callers are solid in their grasp of Reformed theology.

    I guess I should ask, what is your Reformed background, that you are so sure they are representing things correctly?

  21. Posted February 5, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Stephen, narrowly defined, no. Historically defined, yes.

  22. kent
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    here is a decent mapping of P&R denominations.

    http://www.tateville.com/churches.html

    If you are in a NAPARC denom, it is patently obvious what basics should be taught and what areas there is wiggle room in and what is plainly incorrect.

    If certain hypothetical bodies governing these denoms are clueless or toothless or corrupt for certain hypothetical cases, that fails to change what should be taught in a NAPARC denomination.

  23. Posted February 5, 2014 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    young dame, if they understood Reformed theology so well, why do they misrepresent it now? Self-interest wouldn’t have anything to do with, I’m sure.

  24. Cletus van Damme
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Louis,

    Do academics like Horton/Mathison generally waste a lot of their time on ignorant opponents? Was Stellman chosen for the Leithart case as Ken brought up because he was ignorant? Was Jason’s entire church and leadership ignorant of Stellman’s ignorance and just plodded along like befuddled sheep?

    So there’s all these awesome blog comments throughout the net that settle the case. Were they ever presented to CtC to respond to? Or was it all echo chamber cheerleading? That’s my point – bring your points to them – show their ignorance on their own turf and shame them for the deceptive fools they are. Until then it’s just sound and fury.

  25. Stephen
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Doctor Hart (and Zrim, I guess…) So just to clarify, would you ever support such a move, and where do seminaries fall in this matter?

  26. Posted February 5, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Stellman’s not ignorant. On a journey? Yes. A little too eager to draw attention to himself? Probably. Still young? Definitely.

  27. Posted February 5, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Stephen,

    URC – Burned by Calvin seminary, will probably never have their own as a result. Too easy for liberals to capture.

    OPC – Decided education falls under the responsibility of the family, so no denominational seminary

    CANRC – Has one. Avoided the CRC debacle.

    PCA – Don’t know the history.

  28. Cletus van Damme
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Darryl,

    “if they understood Reformed theology so well, why do they misrepresent it now? Self-interest wouldn’t have anything to do with, I’m sure.”

    That they are misrepresenting it is what’s in dispute. And it seems your proposing 2 rather outlandish claims if we take Stellman as an example. Either he did understand Reformed theology when he was leading his church and prosecuting Leithart, but he converted and is now actively misrepresenting it – so basically he fouled up his entire life to embrace something he knew was wrong and is now trying to deceive everyone by misrepresenting RT so he can gain traction in the RC world – which seems a bizarre counterproductive way to live a life.
    Or he did not understand it, even when he was leading his church and prosecuting Leithart and that helped lead to his conversion and so now he is just perpetuating his ignorance in a new light since he never really grasped it in the first place. Which seems equally odd that he was able to deceive his church and elders and presbytery and everyone involved in the Leithart trial.

  29. louis
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Kenneth, no I don’t think it’s amazing. Among other things, Jason Stellman is one member of CtC. My comment was directed at the group generally. Obviously some members have a better grasp than others. That’s not a ringing endorsement of Stellman, by the way, just that even aside from Stellman my point is still valid.

    Cletus, I didn’t say the Callers were ignorant or unintelligent. But they were engaged because they presented a reasoned Roman Catholic challenge to Protestantism, not because they were brilliantly adept at Reformed theology. And yes, their errors and misrepresentations have been pointed out to them repeatedly. Typically they respond the way you do — with denials, weak, irrelevant arguments, and evasions. Moreover, they continue to repeat their misrepresentations because, well, I guess it suits their purpose.

    Cletus and Kenneth,

    It seems to me that you are both more interested in rooting for your side than actually discussing a matter fairly. Thanks for the exchange, but I probably won’t waste any more time on closed minds.

  30. Cletus van Damme
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Louis,

    “And yes, their errors and misrepresentations have been pointed out to them repeatedly. Typically they respond the way you do — with denials, weak, irrelevant arguments, and evasions.”

    Louis, your errors and misrepresentations have been pointed out to you in this thread and elsewhere. Typically you respond the way they do – with denials, weak, irrelevant arguments, and evasions. It seems to me that you are more interested in rooting for your side than actually discussing a matter fairly. Thanks for the exchange, but I probably won’t waste any more time on a closed mind.

    See, that was easy.

  31. Posted February 5, 2014 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    stephen, seminaries are closer to the work of the church than colleges. So I think they could be denominational institutions. Which would mean they would also be political footballs, men not being angels and all that.

  32. Posted February 5, 2014 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    dame young, stay away from the purple prose. It could be that Stellman knew a lot and now distorts some in part to find a gig as an apologist. Whether he went from midnight black to noonday sun is not really at issue.

  33. Kenneth Winsmann
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Louis,

    From the CtC webpage…

    Tom Riello – Tom graduated with a Masters of Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte Campus) and has a Bachelors in Theology. Tom was an ordained minister in the PCA prior to his return to the Catholic Church.

    Dr. David Anders – David was raised in the PCA. He and his wife completed their undergraduate degrees at Wheaton College in 1992. He subsequently earned an M.A. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 1995, and a Ph.D. from The University of Iowa in 2002, in Reformation history and historical theology. He wrote his dissertation on John Calvin

    Jeremy Tate – Jeremy is a graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary in Washington D.C (M.A.R).

    Jason Stewart – Jason was an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) before he and his wife Cindy entered into full communion with the Catholic Church in January of 2011. He earned his Master of Divinity from Mid-America Reformed Seminary (Dyer, IN) in 2005, and subsequently served for 5 1/2 years as pastor of Trinity OPC in eastern Pennsylvania.

    Fred Noltie – Fred was in the Presbyterian Church in America for twenty years, attending both Covenant College and Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.

    If these guys dont understand reformed theology then your schools suck super bad. Btw… what are your credentials? Did you attend any of the same sucky schools as these guys?

  34. Marsh Wiggle
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    KW,
    Five (5) names. Count ’em. F-I-V-E.

    Five men out of.. how many people you s’pose graduated from RTS-Charlotte, TEDS, RTS-Washington, MARS, Covenant, and WTS since 1992? Since 1972?

    Sucky-schools? Don’t you think that the other 500, or is it 1000, graduates would have found some other places to go, not-so-sucky–if they really sucked that much?

    I’ll bet there’s even more than five guys who’ve graduated from those schools and more, who have shucked the faith they were taught. But even so, how does (lemme guess) less than 1/2 of 1% impact an impartial evaluation of the quality of a) the instruction, or b) the content itself?

    Care to estimate how many RCC seminarians gave up their religion in the same time frame? How many NotreDame grads knocked up their girlfriends? Even if fewer men from that background joined the Reformed world–it wouldn’t tell you, me, or the pope whether the quality of their RCC education SUCKED or not. It wouldn’t tell you whether they well-understood their former religion or not.

    That’s an evaluation readers get to make when one of those cats puts his putative learning on display. CtC writers can’t give a credible rehearsal of the faith they abandoned–one that is so honest that those who they left behind are nodding in agreement. No, we’re all scratching out heads, wondering how men so out-of-touch with the theology printed on the page they subscribed could ever have passed a licensure exam.

  35. Zrim
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Cletus, I actually think you have a point. I’m not sure what’s to be gained by maintaining that these Caller converts don’t understand or never did understand Reformed theology. In fact, I wonder if it’s a form of speculation our theology actually warns against.

    At the same time, this isn’t at all to say they don’t distort it. They do. Some of them seem to relish how they are uncharitably portrayed by the Reformed (martyr complex alert), then turn around and portray the Reformed in ways that are unrecognizable to us. What adds insult to injury is that they used to be over here and one can’t help but think they know damn good and well we don’t recognize ourselves in their portrayals, which is always a card that gets played in their favor but never allowed by us. So I say they understand it right well but make efforts to distort. I’m sure you won’t like that, but at least some of us try to give credit where it seems due.

  36. Zrim
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Stephen, my remark was just a bit of smart-assery. What Darryl said. But with regard to supporting moves for churches to fund schools, I can’t even bring myself to go along with URCNA Church Order 14 that charges elders to promote godly schooling, to say nothing about actually funding them.

  37. Bobby
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Are conservative Catholics otherwise normal people who have been made bitter by their small numbers? Or do such movements tend to attract people who are otherwise bitter about life and who may be looking for religious justifications for the bitterness?

  38. sean
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    From Zmirak’s article……….”The Church as righteous subculture is unappealing to nearly everyone – including the kids who grow up inside it, who despite all those years of homeschooling and chapel veils frequently flee for what look like saner pastures.”

    The tie between fundies, FV, patriarchalism and prot-catholics gets tighter and tighter.

  39. Posted February 6, 2014 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    loser ken, and what does it say about your institutions that 95% of U.S. Roman Catholics are so far from pre-Vat II norms?

  40. Robert
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Kenneth,

    If these guys dont understand reformed theology then your schools suck super bad. Btw… what are your credentials? Did you attend any of the same sucky schools as these guys?

    Being able to regurgitate Reformed theology to pass an exam and actually loving it are two different things. I’d also add that on a systemic level, the CTC guys don’t realize that the same criticism that they make of Reformed theology applies really to any theology, and really any subject. I’m talking about the whole “Well, how do you KNOW it’s not just your opinion” nonsense spouted from the CTC guys.

    I graduated from RTS.

  41. Stephen
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Zrim, no worries, I cottoned on to that pretty quickly, but thought you should be the one to say it. I don’t know enough neo-Calvinsim jokes yet to be funny anyway.

  42. Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Stephen, like feminism, neo-Calvinism is not funny.

    As in:

    How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?

    It’s not funny.

  43. Zrim
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Unlike hipsters:

    How many hipsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    1. Some obscure number, you’ve probably never heard of it.

    2. Hard to say, but it probably sounds better on vinyl.

    3. One to screw in the light bulb, 10 to talk about how much they like the old light bulb better.

    4. One. My iPhone has a light bulb app.

    5. I have a few questions first. Is the light bulb locally bought? Will the ladder scuff my white shoes? Does the light bulb come in a V-neck?

  44. Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Zrim – How many hipsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    http://heavyforthevintage.com/

  45. George
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Zrim & Eric – don’t forget about the environmental concerns, i.e., “is it green?” Like this:

    http://www.elca-ses.org/newsandevents/upcoming/greenteamoffersmarchcreationcareretreat

  46. Kenneth Winsmann
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    DGHART,

    are you kidding me? RC universities by and large are not even recognizable as Catholic. BC and ND are brimming full of apostate teaching by conservative standards. My comment wasn’t aimed at saying “we rock you suck nanananana boo booo” I am just saying if the callers “dont understand reformed theology” your universities are garbage.

    Rpbert,

    I know the tu quoque is your new favorite schtick. But now that Clete and I have called you guys out the claim changes from “they dont understand” to “they understand but distort” or “they understand but troll old life” or “they understand but dont love it”….. OK whatever

  47. Zrim
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Ken, so all that will satisfy is that you all understand and don’t distort. How convenient. Any chance on you understand but oppose?

  48. Kenneth Winsmann
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    zrim,

    exactly! that sounds about right to me

  49. Marty McFly
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Any chance on you understand but oppose?

    Fallible churches can say this.

    Infallible ones? They are just chicken.

    And have no mechanism of reform.

    No where is my black 4×4. It’s hot. Im outta here!

    where we’re going we dont need….roads.

  50. Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    Exc topic, DGH. I like your Front Porch blogbrother Patrick Dineen’s analysis most, and would urge you to let it inform your continuing anti-Catholic polemics, for it has the virtue of probably being true:

    The real action does not involve liberal “Catholics” at all. Liberal Catholicism, while well-represented in elite circles of the Democratic Party, qua Catholicism is finished. Liberal Catholicism has no future—like liberal Protestantism, it is fated to become liberalism simpliciter within a generation. The children of liberal Catholics will either want their liberalism unvarnished by incense and holy water, or they will rebel and ask if there’s something more challenging, disobeying their parents by “reverting” to Catholicism. While “liberal” Catholicism will appear to be a force because it will continue to have political representation, as a “project” and a theology, like liberal Protestantism it is doomed to oblivion.

    And in this way

    The relationship of Catholicism to America, and America to Catholicism, began with rancor and hostility, but became a comfortable partnership forged in the cauldron of World War II and the Cold War. Was that period one of “ordinary time,” or an aberration which is now passing, returning us to the inescapably hostile relationship?

    You and your “2K” have been right all along in that respect, just as America, historically more a “Protestant nation” than a “Christian” one, is no longer that either. This is indeed a brave new world–one of liberal Protestantism and liberal Catholicism–that has such wimps in it.

  51. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    D. G. Hart
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink
    Stephen, like feminism, neo-Calvinism is not funny.

    As in:

    How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?

    It’s not funny.

    Good one. Another is “Two–One to change it, the other to shoot the documentary.”

    How many Old Lifers does it take to change a light bulb?

    Edgardo Mortara. Besides, the Inquisition.

  52. Stephen
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Tom -This is indeed a brave new world–one of liberal Protestantism and liberal Catholicism–that has such wimps in it.

    Stephen- Do you get points for referencing Mark Hamill’s Joker, or is that just Shakespeare?

  53. Posted February 8, 2014 at 2:32 am | Permalink

    CVD,
    Somebody can be ignorant and still influential.
    Think politics.
    Need I say more?

    Jason’s whole schtick is premised on the thesis that Jesus and James oppose Paul on justification, i.e. the prot Pauline version of justification as opposed to the roman version which thinks we can co-operate with grace and our law keeping plays apart in faith working by love which saves/justifies us.

    So contra WCF 1:9 and the clearer Scripture explaining the darker, he hunts and pecks around the margin to find where law is equated to the gospel. (the law of faith Rom. 3:27, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus Rom.8:2, the law of Christ, Gal. 6:2, and the law of liberty Jm. 1:25, 2:12.)

    Then he glosses Rom 2 to teach the possibility of law keeping in gross contradiction to its context as prolegomena and the build up to Rome. 3:1-21, “there is none righteous, no not one” i.e. total depravity: that man can do nothing good spirtually in his natural state.

    But after hopscotching over Rom. 3 entirely, in his latest, he is pushing a wet noodle when it comes to Rom. 4 in an attempt to demonstrate again, that lawkeeping/sanctification can contribute to our salvation.

    Bryan, wants to lump the reformed in with the anabaptist, but he has to know that the reformed saw both the anabaptist and the romanist as distinct enemies of the gospel. The first denies history and anything beyond personal opinion/interpretation, the second adds history to Scripture and denies the perspicuity of Scripture and private judgement.

    Further, that Bryan doesn’t agree with the reformed take is no matter, there is still some obligation to meet the objections particularly since a large part of his whole claim to fame is that as ex P&R he has a peculiar insight into why only romanism anwered his questions and concerns about the reformed faith.

    See, that was easy.

  54. Posted February 8, 2014 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    This was an interesting article. if three guys in their twenties come to you saying that they’ve figured out that no one is doing church right but them, tell them to come back in their sixties. Of course they’re “Calvinists” with no hint of Reformed polity or circumspection. We may have the nuttiest nuts of any Protestant ideology, which is saying a lot when Pentecostals are in the competition.

    http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/is-the-church-of-wells-a-cult#.UunGrr1o7lI.facebook

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