What Do Pope Francis and Russell Moore Have in Common?

With all the discussion of the piece on Russell Moore, few have seemed to notice the parallels between Moore, the newly installed director of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and Pope Francis, compared to Richard Land, his predecessor at the Commission, and Benedict XVI. Moore and Francis, at least as journalists portray them, are backing away from the strictness and scolding of their predecessors, Land and Benedict. Granted, as Keith Miller observes, the problem could simply be with the journalists. They have a narrative and they are sticking to it — the old guy was mean, the new guy is nice.

Even so, journalists are not stupid and the parallels are striking. Consider the following with Francis and Benedict in mind:

“When Richard Land spoke to most issues, he was certain that Southern Baptists were behind him and he was their mouthpiece,” Mr. Mohler says. “Russ will need a deft touch to make sure that Southern Baptists stay behind him.” [me – okay, U.S. Roman Catholics have never lined up behind the Vatican, but please keep reading]

Mr. Moore is in no way a liberal. He equates abortion with the evils of slavery, considers homosexuality a sin, and insists the Southern Baptist Convention will never support gay marriage. At the same time, he emphasizes reconciliation and draws a traditional doctrinal distinction between the sinner and the sin. . . .

Mr. Moore would like the Southern Baptists to be able to hold on to people such as Sarah Parr. The 31-year-old social worker grew up in a conservative Southern Baptist family in southern Virginia. She graduated from Liberty University, founded in 1971 by the Falwell family. But she says she found herself increasingly less at home in the church, and left it altogether in her 20s.

She now attends a nondenominational church that meets in an old theater on Washington’s Capitol Hill. Politically, she describes herself “as a moderate at best, if I’m anything. But I don’t find myself in either party.”

When Mr. Moore took over in June as the Southern Baptists’ top public-policy advocate, he startled some in the church by declaring as dead and gone the entire concept of the Bible Belt as a potent mix of Jesus and American boosterism. “Good riddance,” he told thousands of the faithful at the group’s annual convention in Houston in June. “Let’s not seek to resuscitate it.”

In an essay for the conservative Christian magazine “First Things,” titled “Why Evangelicals Retreat,” he dinged the movement for “triumphalism and hucksterism” and lampooned a time when its leaders dispatched voter guides for the Christian position on “a line-item veto, the Balanced Budget Amendment, and the proper funding levels for the Department of Education.”

Mr. Moore says there is no doctrinal daylight between him and his church, and he insists he isn’t seeking to return the Southern Baptists to a past in which it shunned politics entirely.

He travels almost weekly from his home in Nashville to Washington to meet with members of the Obama administration and with congressional leaders. He has allied with the Roman Catholic Church and other religious groups to make the case that overhauling the U.S. immigration system is a Christian goal. He is pushing the Pentagon to give religious chaplains in the military freer rein to preach, and has helped build a new coalition to fight a federal requirement that insurers provide contraception coverage.

His approach, however, is strikingly different from that of his predecessor Mr. Land, who for a quarter century served as the leading voice of the Southern Baptists. Like many evangelical leaders of his generation, Mr. Land, a Princeton-educated Texan, openly aligned himself with the Republican Party and popped up frequently in the Oval Office during the George W. Bush years.

Long before their divergent approaches on the gay-marriage issue, Messrs. Moore and Land split over the huge rally held by conservative talk-radio host Glenn Beck in front of the Lincoln Memorial in August 2010. Mr. Land attended the rally as Mr. Beck’s guest, and later compared Mr. Beck to Billy Graham, calling him “a person in spiritual motion.”

Mr. Moore, in an essay posted after the rally, said the event illustrated how far astray many conservative Christians had wandered in pursuit of “populist God-and-country sloganeering and outrage-generating talking heads.”

In an interview, Mr. Land said the Southern Baptist leadership is divided into those who think the culture war is lost; those who are weary and want it over; and those who think they are losing the war but feel victory is still possible. He declined to say where he puts Mr. Moore, but said he counts himself among the latter. “We are like where Britain was in 1940, under heavy attack but still not defeated,” he said.

Asked to respond, Mr. Beck in a written statement applauded Mr. Land and said, “In times like these, we need to find common ground.”

At the very least, readers might reasonably conclude that Francis and Moore are saying they each need to reconsider their predecessor’s approach to the culture wars.

But one important difference does exist. While Francis, whose pay grade is to interpret the church’s teaching, relies on a bevy of interpreters to make sense of his quips to the press, Russell Moore does actually interpret what he means.

The recent profile in the Wall Street Journal highlighted a generational change in terms of the way evangelicals approach cultural and political engagement: toward a gospel-centered approach that doesn’t back down on issues of importance, but sees our ultimate mission as one that applies the blood of Christ to the questions of the day.

The headline, as is often the case with headlines, is awfully misleading. I am not calling, at all, for a “pullback” from politics or engagement.

If anything, I’m calling for more engagement in the worlds of politics, culture, art, labor and so on. It’s just that this is a different sort of engagement. It’s not a matter of pullback, but of priority.

What I’m calling for in our approach to political engagement is what we’re already doing in one area: the pro-life movement. Evangelicals in the abortion debate have demonstrated convictional kindness in a holistic ethic of caring both for vulnerable unborn children and for the women who are damaged by abortion. The pro-life movement has engaged in a multi-pronged strategy that addresses, simultaneously, the need for laws to outlaw abortion, care for women in crisis pregnancies, adoption and foster care for children who need families, ministry to women (and men) who’ve been scarred by abortion, cultivating a culture that persuades others about why we ought to value human life, and the proclamation of the gospel to those whose consciences bear the guilt of abortion. . . .

We teach our people that their vote for President of the United States is crucially important. They’ll be held accountable at Judgment for whomever they hand the Romans 13 sword to. But we teach them that their vote on the membership of their churches is even more important. A church that loses the gospel is a losing church, no matter how many political victories it wins. A church that is right on public convictions but wrong on the gospel is a powerless church, no matter how powerful it seems.

That does sound like the old Christian Right, an elevation of matters temporal to the level of things eternal — voting having redemptive consequences. Even so, whether Moore did this simply to silence critics, or to avoid showing disrespect to Richard Land, at least he did respond. Francis still hasn’t. (Didn’t see that one coming, did you.)

60 thoughts on “What Do Pope Francis and Russell Moore Have in Common?

  1. And here I thought you were going to say “natural law”.

    But that would not show how “the kingdom is the gospel” guy (Russel Moore) is any different from David VanDrunnen,

    Moore seems to know about Roman Catholic theories of “natural law” than Land did, but I am not sure how being more informed is going to change anything, since Land didn’t mind collaboration with papists either. I doubt that the present pope knows more about “natural law” than the previous pope.

    Another thing has not changed either—Mohler is still working with the “evangelical”category, which means he’s going to keep wasting our time trying to define who is and isn’t “evangelical”….

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  2. Hard to categorize Moore. At times he sounds Kuyperian. At other times, as you say, he sounds like the old Christian right.

    I’m encouraged that he would question the Christian position on “a line-item veto, the Balanced Budget Amendment, and the proper funding levels for the Department of Education.” At the same time I’m troubled that he argues for a “Christian” view of immigration reform.

    I think that it is safe to conclude that 2K theology does not consistently inform his methodology.

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  3. Thanks, Darryl, I had not heard of Moore before. I’m with you, Dave, Moore seems hard to pin down. I’ll be reading…

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  4. “They’ll be held accountable at Judgment for whomever they hand the Romans 13 sword to.”

    What exactly does this even mean? Does this mean that at the last day my votes for President will be tallied up and that if I bat under .300 I get sent down to the minor leagues? Or did they add toll houses to Faith and Message when I wasn’t looking:

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  5. D.G.,

    You seem to pay an awful lot of attention to the Catholic Church. I think Mormonism is wrong (and really weird), but I only really think about Mormonism when they pedal past me or show up at my door. Why all the interest in the Catholic Church? Has Jason’s conversion simply reinforced what you have always believed about Catholicism or has it changed your thinking about the Church in some way? I’m genuinely interested.

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  6. Dan,

    its just one of many things you won’t be able to make since of while you cling to imputed alien righteousness.

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  7. Jeremy, you’re playing dumb again. If a dozen priests and deacons, a couple of whom were relatively high profile, renounced Romanism and joined NAPARC churches in the space of a couple of years AND SET UP A WEBSITE TO CROW ABOUT IT I’m sure the Callers wouldn’t even notice, comment, or drop their rosary beads. Right.

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  8. Chortles,

    Don’t forget the professed claim to treasure their Reformed upbringing all the while using a quasi-Reformed methodology to convince us that the principled paradigm of pompous papalism offers something Scripture and the Holy Spirit don’t, all in the peace of Christ of course.

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  9. Kenneth,

    I’m Catholic. Who you vote for doesn’t play into the Catholic understanding of the Four Last Things either. Hell, before the Second Vatican Council you could make the case that handing over the Romans 13 sword through the democratic process to ANYONE is heresy (See Americanism).

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  10. Chortles,

    Again, I’m not playing dumb. If you haven’t noticed, I’m extremely interested in Reformed theology. The little time I get to surf the web I’m either at CtC or here. I respect Reformed theology, respect Reformed theologians, and am personally indebted to the tradition. Again, the confessional Reformed faith is Protestantism at its absolute best. I believe the average Catholic has a great deal to learn from the average Reformed Christian (the opposite is also true). Motives are not always sinister. It’s also possible that I enjoy some of what D.G. writes and am curious to know whether D.G. has gained even an ounce of greater respect for Catholicism since he has interacted with it so much recently.

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  11. Jeremy, unfortunately for you, your association with CtC makes you immediately suspect. Sorry. Just don’t expect other people to do the hard work of learning for you. Books arw much better resources for learning. Darryl’s latest is wonderful, if you are into reformed theology and history. You would be wise to buy it and read. Take care.

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  12. Jeremy, fair enough and I take you to be a true gentleman. I’ll leave it to DG to answer but I think I got pretty close. Like him I took vows as a ruling elder. Protecting the sheep from error, heresy and waywardness is no small matter. It’s not for every elder to publicly engage Romanism, but I hope you’ll understand why some feel compelled to do so. And Byran Cross has an irritating hat. And Jason’s head is ridiculous.

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  13. Chorts, yer killin me.
    That’s all I have time for. Need to go fill up my flask for the conference tonight.

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  14. Jeremy,
    Once again your slip is showing.
    You after all, supposedly attended to a reformed seminary.
    But here you are again, more or less asking basic questions about romanism vis a vis the reformed faith. It’s not the unforgivable sin, but really.

    The reformers pretty much considered the Roman church to be that which was prophesied of in the NT as being the apostate church which would persecute the true church. 2 Thess. 2, Rev.17,18.
    That, if not that Mohammed was the eastern antichrist, just as the pope was the western, both sent to a disobedient church.

    Further they considered it to be the epitome of a church made in the image of the natural man, who walks by sight and not by faith; who is religious and has a form of godliness, but denies its power; who in the name of Christ re-sacrifices Christ; iow the masterpiece of Satan who comes as an angel of light all the while he subverts it.

    As regards Mormonism, or for that matter Islam, both follow in Rome’s footsteps in adding something to the infallible, sufficient and clear rule of life and faith, the Word of God, whether it is the Koran or the Book of Mormon. Evidently just like the pope, Mohammed and Joe Smith are given apostolic infallible utterances the faithful are to believe on penalty of damnation. IOW the Bible and (fill in the blank), not Scripture Alone.

    And mind you, the principal of CtC, who also attended a reformed seminary couldn’t answer the Utah missionaries when they came a knocking at his door thereby precipitating his crossing the river Styx spiritually speaking.

    Chort, lets be fair about it. Susan’s avatar is much better looking that TVD’s. That counts for something.

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  15. But, Jeremy, when it comes to Reformed Protestantism at CtC (a place you don’t just surf but also contribute), the whole point isn’t to learn but to deconstruct. That’s fine, since when it comes to Catholicism here or other Reformed places, the favor is returned. The difference may be that the follow up point is to call the separated brethren home, whereas over here not so much. Most of the paradigmers know well what they’ve rejected. And hopefully there is a formal call to repent somewhere in the background so that this informal place doesn’t get all eeeevangelical about it.

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  16. Jeremy, I really really really dislike triumphalism and all the Jason and the Callers’ hype about Rome Sweet Home fired up the engines. I used to have a mild respect for Rome. But now that I see what has happened between Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae and Vatican II, I cannot fathom how any one who is honest can be triumphalist about the church the Vatican rules.

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  17. Jeremy, and just to add, I was actually impressed by Vatican II’s doctrine of the church — can’t remember the name of the document. But it is hardly Boniface VIII or Pius X. Please don’t say development of doctrine. If you do, I’ll counter with Auburn Affirmation — which means Protestant modernists developed development of doctrine well before Rome.

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  18. Muddy’s a fraud. He washed down his probiotic “regularity” yogurt with a Vitamin Water. Please.

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  19. A few of the fraudster bluesman’s big hits: “Annual Renewable Term Blues”, “Ranchstyle Blues”, “Ciabiatta & Cello Chillin”, “When My Accountant Left Me”, and “Tax Bracket Boogie”

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  20. Jeremy, just to add on to my previous comment, now that I have more time, the blog posts on conciliarism, the ones with the picture of Francis Oakley standing in front of books, are worth your time to read, if you don’t want to buy Darryl’s latest book. On top of being a good writer, he’s a good speaker. We might be fortunate to get transcripts, or the like, from the conference everyone in this thread is alluding to.

    Other than this, yeah, like I said, just to drive home, your association with the website CalledtoCommunion means you will undoubtedly receive the “left foot of fellowship” here at oldlife. Our cheery fellow sporting a hat you should like, Mr. Chortles, nailed it in his 1:27 post yesterday.

    Per your bio, it’s awesome you teach U.S. History. I was a history major for a year at UC Santa Barbara before switching to my current career field in business. I study all the history I can, in fact, these lectures on church history that I stated listening to on my commute this week are fantastic, and free (!). There’s plenty to learn about, Jeremy. I hope you stick around and keep reading here, as you are able.

    Later.

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  21. Jeremy,

    Might I add that part of the issue is that you are part of a group that is less than forthright about its goals. From the CTC website:

    We believe that Christ is calling His Church to be one, as He and the Father are one. This is the prayer and the desire of our Savior’s heart and therefore it is also our desire. Our aim is to effect reconciliation and reunion between Catholics and Protestants, particularly those of the Reformed tradition. We hope to accomplish this by removing obstacles founded upon misunderstandings as well as by engaging in charitable discussion of genuine disagreements, in a context of continual prayer for each other and for the unity of all God’s people. We believe that genuine unity comes through truth and never by forsaking or compromising the truth.

    That sounds real nice, but all of us know that your goal for reconciliation is to make converts to the Roman Church. That is somewhat to be expected, just be more upfront about it.

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  22. Dgh how did you know I put flax in my flask? Even blues guys need to look out for our health these days. Also we are more concussion conscious when we go to bars.

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  23. Robert,

    Yes. Reunion cannot happen outside the Catholic Church. This is because the Catholic unity is not man-made, but the fulfillment of divine promise.

    Hear me out though. Isn’t it true that the average Reformed person can be comfortable in a dozen different denominations? It’s not like the particular denomination matters all that much. It’s actually tough to find a solid Reformed Christian in a denomination older than my grandpa (he’s pretty old though). If history is any indicator, solid TR’s will be hard to find in the same places they are today.

    When a Reformed person becomes Catholic it’s not like he gives everything up that he learned as a Reformed Christian. In fact, the lessons learned in the Reformed communions are often great gifts in Catholic parishes. Many of the Reformed guys I know (most of the CtC guys) become leaders in their parish. Some are even instrumental in leading liberal parishes back towards fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church.

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  24. Jeremy, you really want to start talking about “average” Reformed Christians? I don’t even need to read after the second sentence of your second paragraph. Are average Catholics really something you want to start down? Keep going if you must, it’s just, this is all getting really old…….

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  25. JT: Yes. Reunion cannot happen outside the Catholic Church. This is because the Catholic unity is not man-made, but the fulfillment of divine promise.

    If one doesn’t buy that as an untested presupposition, it is not even remotely worthy of pushing two seconds thought towards it, even trying not to be mean.

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  26. Kent,

    If the history of Protestantism has demonstrated anything over the past 500 years it is simply that unity is not possible even among Protestants. Even among Presbyterians! The Catholic Church is the only way Protestants can reunite, even with each other. You can argue otherwise, but history tells a different story.

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  27. Jeremy: The Catholic Church is the only way Protestants can reunite, even with each other. You can argue otherwise, but history tells a different story.

    Me: The proprietor of this web site is ex-reformed and would certainly beg to differ: http://orthodoxbridge.com/

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  28. Jeremy,

    When a Reformed person becomes Catholic it’s not like he gives everything up that he learned as a Reformed Christian. In fact, the lessons learned in the Reformed communions are often great gifts in Catholic parishes. Many of the Reformed guys I know (most of the CtC guys) become leaders in their parish. Some are even instrumental in leading liberal parishes back towards fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church.

    Except for:

    The imputation of an alien righteousness
    That praying to the departed is idolatry
    That Scripture is the only infallible rule of faith and practice
    That saving grace is irresistible
    Etc.

    Telling me that converts are the ones leading their parishes back to the Magisterium is not particularly encouraging. If parishes need help from the outside, that doesn’t say much for the magisterium’s ability to maintain unity, discipline, and infallibility.

    If the history of Protestantism has demonstrated anything over the past 500 years it is simply that unity is not possible even among Protestants. Even among Presbyterians! The Catholic Church is the only way Protestants can reunite, even with each other. You can argue otherwise, but history tells a different story.

    We’d rather be honest about disunity than pretend the fact that everybody tips their hat to the pope means that Rome is unified on its doctrine and practice. I can go to a PCA or an OPC church in the same town and get the same doctrine. I don’t get that in Roman parishes. Some are rank liberals.

    Now you can say that such doesn’t reflect the unity of dogma, but then we’re back to you touting a system that solves problems even though it ignores them.

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  29. When a Reformed person becomes Catholic it’s not like he gives everything up that he learned as a Reformed Christian. In fact, the lessons learned in the Reformed communions are often great gifts in Catholic parishes. Many of the Reformed guys I know (most of the CtC guys) become leaders in their parish. Some are even instrumental in leading liberal parishes back towards fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church.

    snicker.
    Come on Jeremy, distinguish between nominal unity and genuine unity.
    You know like between succession of apostolic doctrine and apostolic succession.
    As above, at least Prots are honest about it, but better outward disunity in the pursuit of the truth than outward unity in a lie.
    IOW triumphalism indeed.
    Where the gospel is, there is the true church and unity. All others are man made frauds no matter how “traditional” or engaging in the fullness of the blah blah blah.
    What kind of grades do you give your students when they refuse to deal substantively with the issues or mistake the superficial for depth?

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  30. Jeremy Tate
    Posted November 2, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink
    Kent,

    If the history of Protestantism has demonstrated anything over the past 500 years it is simply that unity is not possible even among Protestants. Even among Presbyterians! The Catholic Church is the only way Protestants can reunite, even with each other. You can argue otherwise, but history tells a different story.

    Well, Jeremy, you’ve certainly got them all upset, to a man. And of course the worst of them will call you names, the best of them simply negate your assertions.

    They would be right about your Roman Catholic* “triumphalism” being inappropriate for a Protestant blog that hates most Protestants as well–though it’s understandable that you would choose that nuclear option after being backed into a corner with countless insults.

    Your main assertion is pretty indisputable, that the history of fractiousness of “Protestantism” suggests that any sort of unity under its umbrella will be impossible–Protestantism is an entropic force, splintering further and further geometrically, into literally hundreds or thousands of sects. My good and erstwhile friend AndrewB asserts Catholic unity is an illusion, but by any standard set by 500 years of Protestantism, Catholicism is practically unanimous.

    Permit to recommend this paper

    extra.shu.ac.uk/emls/moretyndale.pdf

    on the historic debate between Sir/St. Thomas More and seminal Reformer William Tyndale. You make similar arguments as did More, that in the end there is always an appeal to authority and no end to the theological fractiousness save a “magisterium”–not much as changed in 500 years.
    ______
    *An interesting tidbit I ran across the other day—“Roman” Catholic was a term started by the English in the 1600s as a pejorative. Your church’s name is the Catholic Church, “catholic” of course meaning “universal.” The English “Protestants” wanted to claim the word “catholic” but as we know it didn’t stick.

    I would say your trumping argument may be that Pope Francis [among others] claims that Protestants are members of his catholic and universal church, the one Church, the True Church, even if they don’t think so. Your new friends here at Called to Crabbiness think of themselves as the universal church [“catholic” appears numerous times in their Westminster Confession, see XXV] but as you note, it hard to tell who’s in and who’s out without a scorecard of the sects.

    I follow your adventures with interest, although I imagine the unmoderated abuse has you at least halfway out the door.

    “When a Reformed person becomes Catholic it’s not like he gives everything up that he learned as a Reformed Christian. In fact, the lessons learned in the Reformed communions are often great gifts in Catholic parishes. Many of the Reformed guys I know (most of the CtC guys) become leaders in their parish. Some are even instrumental in leading liberal parishes back towards fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church.”

    Heh. “Reforming” them, as it were. Fascinating, Captain. I started to wonder if it would work with Presbyterians, then remembered that due to Protestantism’s entropic dynamic, we will never know.

    Which if I understand you correctly, is pretty much your argument. 😉

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  31. Contrary to the huffing and puffing of The Verónian Disciple, unity in the lie is not true unity. Rather it is in the truth (beginning with SS and JBFA as well as the little papa is the AC for denying those fundamentals.) Of course for those who walk by sight and not by faith, who are into appearances, well that’s right down their alley.

    Likewise we neglected to mention previously contra Jeremy’s confusion, that the reformed are catholic, while the roman church is not, hence the perjorative “roman catholic”. It aptly describes the communion under/in thrall to the non resident occasionally preaching Vatican bishop claiming universal jurisdiction over Christ’s church.
    But then again, if words mean something and you aren’t a nominalist, calling a spade a spade shouldn’t be a problem.
    Of course there are those who much prefer the peace of Dr. Pangloss.
    They are welcome to it.
    cheers

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  32. Jeremy,

    If I convert can the church hook me up with a crib like the Bishop of Bling over in Germany? If so, I might consider it. Call my real estate broker if you can work this out for me.

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  33. Jeremy – When a Reformed person becomes Catholic it’s not like he gives everything up that he learned as a Reformed Christian.

    Erik – Yeah, only small stuff like justification by faith apart from works.

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  34. As you see, Jeremy, warrior children bang their shoe on the table, yelling “We will bury you.” Religion really has little to do with it–it’s more a Rorschach test.

    ________
    Erik – Yeah, only small stuff like justification by faith apart from works.

    Of course, according to your own theology, my erstwhile pal, God will save us or leave us according to His Will, not on our ability to theologize on “small stuff” like that.

    I will never understand how people can work up a diaperload over these things.

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  35. Hilarity, fellow tv game show man. Consider us united on the grounds of our teenage year endeavors, pink hair on Jeopardy as I recall, for you, and a Bob Barker hand shake for moi (anyone else notice Mr. Barker coming back to do some shows this week? Google it). Did I not tell you you’d still be around here six months ago last you and I spoke? Trust me, Darryl and I and the crew here will be in your head in six months, when you and I speak of each other again. Take care, Mr. Van Dyke. Regards, Andrew

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  36. Jeremy, “If the history of Protestantism has demonstrated anything over the past 500 years it is simply that unity is not possible even among Protestants. Even among Presbyterians! The Catholic Church is the only way Protestants can reunite, even with each other. You can argue otherwise, but history tells a different story.”

    Chamber of commerce boosterism alert!

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  37. Kent, the fundamentalist never is aware he is being a jackass. He’s simply being faithful (but inhuman, and here I thought Rome was all about the dignity of the human person).

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  38. “If the history of Protestantism has demonstrated anything over the past 500 years it is simply that unity is not possible even among Protestants. Even among Presbyterians! The Catholic Church is the only way Protestants can reunite, even with each other. You can argue otherwise, but history tells a different story.”

    Doesn’t this view fly in the face of Papa’s recent comments about Triumphalism being counterproductive to the goals of “the church?”

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  39. I’m signing off from Old Life for at least a few weeks though I’m sure I will continue reading D.G’s posts.

    Today I went to a PCA service. My uncle has ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and asked the elders to anoint him with oil as Scripture commands (James 5:14). He has lost the ability to move his arms, legs, and even his speech is starting to go. He doesn’t have much time left. I stood with him as the elders prayed around him anointed his head with oil. He had come to the session asking them to do so.

    The whole experience made me realize, in a yet more painful way, the awful bitterness of separation. The few words my uncle said in prayer, through many tears, were “I praise you God for your son.” I can’t think of a better prayer. The elders praying around him are amazing men, many of whom I know personally, have taken seriously the biblical call to love and care for the sick. As I listened to them pray it reminded me that my parish needs more men like them. My parish needs more people who realize the complete satisfaction to be found only in Christ.

    Yet, my uncle wanted something (to be anointed with oil) that has been essentially lost in the Reformed tradition. His heart desired, prompted by Scripture, the Catholic sacrament of anointing of the sick with the richness of the Catholic sacramental theology to match the act. Instead, it was a loving, but clearly uncomfortable gesture by the session, devoid of a theology behind it, besides the Scriptural command itself.

    This morning was a painful reminder that the people who suffer from our division are not the theology bloggers, but people like my uncle. Until we realize that we have a mutual need for each other, discussion will probably be fruitless. Because of separation, my parish suffers from not having men like my uncle. Because of separation, he suffers from not having the fullness of the sacraments God has given us.

    Say a prayer for my Uncle if you would. He’s Reformed like you. If you care to watch, here’s a youtube video of him giving advice to my son. He’s his Godfather, but will not be around to see him grow up.

    Peace in Christ, Jeremy

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  40. JT,

    Sorry to hear about your uncle.

    We are not as concerned as you because we embrace the visible/invisible distinction. The key question from our perspective is whether Rome illuminates or obscures Christ for those in need of him. Seven sacraments may be obscuring, not illuminating.

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  41. I’ll have a Big Social recap later for those of you who are wondering how it went. Teaser: It was great. The only thing missing was many of you. Pray for D.G. (and Alan & his son) as they make the long drives home this afternoon and evening.

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  42. Apologies TVD, nothing about pink (my mind plays rather weird tricks on me, at times), rather, blonde, and he was in his 20’s. Wow, what a summer. Digging into the archives of OLTS brings back memories…

    Way to cap off the year with the conference, guys. Kudos!

    Erik, glad to hear it went well.

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  43. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 3, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink
    Tom, yes, we do know you by your love.

    I do love you, brother. I hope to either dissuade or cajole you out of your crabbiness someday. I’m wary of some of your theories, for if you accept the existence of natural law, it is discerned not just by reason, but by demonstration. “Radical” 2k bears no fruit–it’s a sterile theology. Whoever you think is being scared away from Christ by the religious Right is gonna run for the hills once they learn that your church put Dr. Terry Gray on trial for evolution.

    On the visceral level, although it has a certain charm for those who love you, your crabbiness is of course self-evident. [insert banned emoticon here] [crabby]
    ______
    Andrew, you and the warrior children are always in my head, never denied it. Your inverted balance of theologizing and fideism is the Bearded Spock Universe of Catholicism—and unbidden, you continue to hand me your agonizer.

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  44. Tom, if we were married for 33 years, it might feel like love. Without that history, your love feels like Bryan Cross’ without the logic or the peace of Christ.

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  45. Tom, “bearded Spock,” very funny. See you around, if you choose to “hang out” in Darryl’s blog again, in the future. Regards, Andrew

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  46. PS Tom, when you want to engage the theology, that’s really what this blog is about, in case you haven’t noticed. As much I like star trek, that’s not the end of the story, friend. You may have read about the “left foot of fellowship,” I mentioned with Jeremy a few comboxes up, in this thread. You should have some idea of the what and the why, by now, if you are reading. Take care.

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