20 thoughts on “Spirituality of the Church with a Dash of Episcopacy

  1. If the Bible and the gospel are addressed to Christians and not to the world, does that mean that all those attending Sunday church should be assumed to profess to be Christians?

    When the pope comes to an opc congregation some Reformation Sunday morning, does the opc clergyman explain that when he says “you” he does not mean all of you?

    The pope continues to be the single greatest cause of Christian disunity. Not only does the pope reject the authority of the Bible and justification through faith alone, but also tthe pope insists that any Christian unity must recognize the authority of papal tradition. The success of Calvin and Luther, limited though it was, was that they refused to collaborate or be included in the false unity which taught that the grace of justification was given by water baptism and then maintained by the works “grace” enabled us to do.


  2. John Murray—- How can man be just with God? If man had never sinned, …he would continue to be right with God by fulfilling the will of God perfectly. But the question takes on a radically different complexion with the entrance of sin. Man is wrong with God. And the question is: How can man become right with God? This was Luther’s burning question. He found the answer in Paul’s Epistles to the Romans and the Galatians, that we are justified by faith alone, through grace alone . . .
    It is to be acknowledged and appreciated that theologians of the Roman Catholic Church are giving a great deal of renewed attention to this subject, and there is a gratifying recognition that “to justify” is “to declare to be righteous”, that it is a declarative act on God’s part. But the central issue of the Reformation remains. Rome still maintains and declares that justification consists in renovation and sanctification, and the decrees of the Council of Trent have not been retracted or repudiated. . . .

    to make justification to consist in renovation and sanctification is to eliminate from the gospel that which meets our basic need as sinners, and answers the basic question: How can a sinner become just with God? The answer is that which makes the lame man leap as an heart and the tongue of the dumb sing. . . . Why so? It is the righteousness of God by faith.. This is not God’s attribute of justice, but it is a God-righteousness, a righteousness with divine properties and qualities, contrasted not only with human unrighteousness but with human righteousness. And what his righteousness is, the apostle makes very clear. It is a free gift. . .

    When Paul invokes God’s anathema upon any who would preach a gospel other than that he preached, he used a term which means “devoted to destruction”. It is a term weighted with imprecation. . . . To the core of his being he was persuaded that the heresy combated was aimed at the destruction of the gospel. It took the crown from the Redeemer’s head…. (Collected Writings, vol. 1, 302-304)


  3. Mark-

    Perhaps it could be said Rome teaches ‘justification by faith alone’ in certain cases.

    How about a deathbed convert with an intellectual knowledge of Christianity, lifelong a quiet skeptic, never practicing, but just before death sincerely affirming belief and expressing a desire for baptism (whether accommodated or not)?

    From a Catholic perspective, the affirmation of faith justifies and he is in a state of sanctifying grace which is not lost.

    (I realize this doesn’t give full application to what you mean by JBFA. But it’s not like we’re going to solve that difference here.)


  4. “Roman Catholic apologists invariably celebrate the church while Protestants defend the work of Christ.”

    ” It also helps that praising God rather than fallible men is the outcome of Protestant understandings of salvation.”


  5. Always interrogate your sources, Master Hart.

    Let alone grabbing some lay Catholic website–which is suspect enough–that Msgr. Ronald Knox was a notable Catholic figure in secular academia is undisputed. That he spoke for the Catholic Church with any authority would be a false assumption. That he spoke with any theological authority atall would be a false assumption.

    Nothing, however, could be better calculated to show him up and finish him off than his current literary association with the Little Flower. For if ever there were antipodal personalities they are Therese of the Child Jesus and Ronald Knox of Oxford. In clothing her thoughts with his words — adjusting her style to his standards, dressing up her images, enlarging her vocabulary — he has done his best to transform her into a stuffy, British, slightly less masculine, more pious version of himself. Typical example: Saint Therese writes, “I laugh now at some things I did.” (Je ris maintenant de certaines choses .) Monsignor Knox elaborates this into, “It makes me laugh now to think what heavy weather I made over nothing at all.”

    But in the end it is–Therese, her brightness and clarity, who prevails, and Monsignor Knox who gets snowed under

    So there’s his theology. Caveat emptor.

    As to the Catholic Voter blog article arguing that Joe Biden is a “confused Catholic,” Joe is a confused person—not a bad person, just one with good intentions but with no intellectual or moral courage. The perfect political liberal, followers of Barney the Christosaur.

    I love you,
    You love me
    Gimme your fucking

    Perhaps in this next year you’ll attack the liberal “Catholics” [and Protestants] with the same vigor you attack the real ones, Dr. Hart. The r2k door should swing both ways.

    BTW, D, a friend who’s familiar with us both sent me this. 😉



  6. i> G. Hart
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 10:03 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, imagine what the critic of Knox would do with you. As if your lapsed opinions count more than Knox’s? Maybe in the incoherent world of Roman Catholicism.

    Not even one of your fans has the slightest idea of what this collection of words means, Dr. Hart. If a single one can explain it let alone defend it, I’ll send him a dollar.

    You act needs reform, me brother.


  7. Mark,

    The pope does not reject the authority of the Bible nor did Trent or any other council. A rejection of SS does not entail a rejection of Scriptures authority. Nor does a rejection of particular Protestant formulations of faith alone entail a rejection of faith alone, hence Benedicts statement affirming it along with other RC writers – which is compatible with Trent which condemns a particular formulation of it in the relevant canon (“in such wise as to mean”).

    And Murrays third paragraph you cite does not show how infusion “eliminates from the gospel” what he then lays out.


  8. Samuel Davies had a few things to say about the final reality facing…all of us, when all theological issues will be settled…literally.

    Davies: The Universal Judgment.

    “While the Judge is descending—the parties to be judged will be summoned to appear. But where are they? They are all asleep in their dusty beds—except that present generation.”

    “Now all the millions of mankind, of whatever country and nation, whether they expect this tremendous day or not, all feel a shock through their whole frames, while they are instantaneously metamorphosed in every limb, and the pulse of immortality begins to beat strong in every part! Now also the slumberers under ground begin to stir, to rouse, and spring to life!

    Now see graves opening, tombs bursting, charnel-houses rattling, the earth heaving, and all alive, while these subterranean armies are bursting their way through! See clouds of human dust and broken bones darkening the air, and flying from country to country over intervening continents and oceans—to meet their kindred fragments, and repair the shattered frame with pieces collected from a thousand different quarters, where they were blown away by winds, or washed away by seas!

    “Now the Judge has come, the Judgment-seat is erected, the dead are raised. And what follows? Why, the universal gathering of all people before the Judgment-seat!”

    “Now the Judge is seated—and anxious millions stand before Him waiting for their doom! As yet, there is no separation made between them; but men and devils, saints and sinners, are promiscuously blended together. But see! at the order of the Judge, the crowd is all in motion! They part, they sort together according to their character, and divide to the right and left. He Himself has told us, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him—He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another—as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on His right—and the goats on His left!” Matthew 25:31-33.



  9. Tom –

    Machen minced no words. Of the “dreary regularity” of one of his favorite nature preserves after the federal government made it a national park, Machen wrote,

    “I almost feel as though I were in some kind of penal institution. I feel somewhat as I do when I am in Los Angeles or any of the over-regulated cities of the West, where pedestrians meekly wait around on the street comers for non-existent traffic and cross the streets only at the sound of the prison gong.”

    Looks to me like he might approve of the common NY/NJ practice of 1-2 leftward-turning cars doing so immediately upon receiving a green light, in advance of oncoming traffic.

    If so, kudos. Thinkers ought to be able to see past apparent disorganization to underlying social needs met and not call for inappropriate imposition of what some here might call “man-made law” (regulations contingently-based at best on natural law, sometimes beneficial, sometimes not).


  10. DGH : “Russell, are you Ali doing an impersonation of David Barton?”

    Actually, my OPC experience included reading quite a few of the Princeton “Old Guys”, and they are so much better than me in defining and explaining the eternal issues… .


  11. TVHS, there’s nothing in the Machen piece that is not in DG’s book. What’s the point? That he was all for your right to be a Catholic of Convenience? Sure. That we have no backbones? As if it’s easy to go against Fox Newsism.


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