Ecumenism vs. Going It Alone

The discussion of Larycia Hawkin’s situation continues.

Rod Dreher thinks Wheaton is right to protect its theological borders since it has refused employment to Roman Catholics:

Wheaton does police its margins carefully. Catholics are not allowed to teach there, not because Wheaton’s leadership think Catholics are bad people, but because they do not believe a faithful Catholic can affirm the institution’s standards. If I were a professor, as an Orthodox Christian, I couldn’t teach there either. Do I think that is excessive? Probably. But I admire Wheaton’s willingness to take a hard stand, even when they are mocked by outsiders. It requires the kind of courage and confidence that one doesn’t often see among Christian churches and institutions these days, and that will be desperately needed in the years to come, by all of us.

But Noah Toly, one of the first Wheaton faculty wonders if the goal posts move when Wheaton talks about theological borders:

The standard to which Dr. Hawkins is being held is that of “theological clarity” in embodying the identity of the college and Statement of Faith. It is immensely important to recognize this. Faculty may hold various controversial positions within the bounds of the Statement of Faith. The more complex those positions, the more they demand a sort of clear articulation – otherwise, they invite misunderstanding. The standard of theological clarity is not, in and of itself, problematic. But the operationalization of that standard is fraught. (Adam Laats’ commentary on this is good, if slightly overstated.) Is the same level of nuance, subtlety, complexity, and elaboration required of everyone? Or, given the insistence that theological clarity is particularly important when we participate in various movements and initiatives, is the same level of nuance, subtlety, complexity, and elaboration required regardless of the political, social, and cultural affinities of those movements? Has the college itself transparently offered faculty and other constituents the same level of nuance, subtlety, complexity, and elaboration that now seems required of us?

Exactly. This is why I hope Wheaton does not eliminate Hawkins from its faculty. The college is mainly “evangelical,” but faculty have hardly agreed on the meaning of the institution’s minimalist statement of faith.

Dreher also invokes a piece by Alan Jacobs written almost a decade ago when Wheaton let go a faculty member who converted to Roman Catholicism. Jacobs wondered if Wheaton was wise to rely on its own brand of conservative Christianity:

…throughout much of American history and late into the twentieth century, evangelicals and Catholics had little to do with one another. They came, by and large, from different ethnic groups; they lived in different neighborhoods and even in different regions of the country; they went to different schools—in short, they were socialized into American culture in dramatically different ways. Throughout much of its history Wheaton College’s leaders would have reacted with horror at the thought of Catholics on the faculty—but they would have been highly unlikely to entertain that thought in the first place. Catholic scholars would have been equally unlikely to think of teaching at Wheaton. Duane Litfin is right to say that Wheaton is getting hammered for taking a position that, as recently as thirty years ago, scarcely anyone on either side of the Reformational divide would have questioned.

But times have changed. And here is where the correctness of Hochschild’s position comes in. He is not the only Catholic to look at Wheaton’s Statement of Faith and think, “Yes, that suits me very well.” Having served on hiring committees a number of times in Wheaton’s English department, I have seen dozens of applications from Catholic scholars who see nothing in Wheaton’s self-description that would rule them out.

But I sure wish Jacobs had considered where Roman Catholics may be coming from when looking at Wheaton’s doctrinal affirmation. After all, their bishops’ ecumenical discussions on justification have been with the most liberal sector of Lutheran communions:

Acting as it does as a summary and analysis of five decades of Lutheran-Catholic dialogue, 2015’s Declaration on the Way: Church, Ministry, and Eucharist will undoubtedly be a helpful touchstone in future ecumenical discussions between the two traditions. For that reason, the representatives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Bishop’s Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) who authored the work are to be commended. The document is worthy of careful reading.

Of course, it is also important to note that the synthesis presented here represents an understanding of Lutheranism not necessarily shared by all churches who claim the name. The Lutheran side of these dialogues has been primarily represented by churches of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). Other Lutheran churches, like those represented by the International Lutheran Council (ILC), may not agree in every respect with the Lutheran position as presented in these past dialogues, even as they praise other elements of the discussions.

Meanwhile, the bishop responsible for identifying doctrine infallibly helped to produce a video that has him walking along side religious expressions far more objectionable than the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.


35 thoughts on “Ecumenism vs. Going It Alone

  1. So Francis melts all the way down to Lennon and McCartney, all we need is love. Are all the trads singing along? Love , love, love is all we need. Think with your papal audacity, trads and he ain’t in Malta, of this you can be certain. Love is all, love is all we need, yeah, yeah, yeah.


  2. James Young the manichean. It’s either the pope or Westboro Baptist.

    After seeing that video don’t you feel like crawling into a hole (without your blankie)?


  3. Clete, it’s ok. You can be part of the prophetic chaos. It’s ignatian after all. Francis will affirm your dissension. This was part of the Vat Ii elevation of religious conscience and lay charism. Let your buzzcut flag fly.


  4. Darryl,

    Why would this video make me crawl into a hole? Havent you read the history of the RCC and past popes? THINK


  5. well…. maybe any ‘bad advice’ or ‘bad information’ (other post) will be cleared up this year

    one way or another…
    at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 210 -11

    Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 1 John 2:23


  6. Okay, 30 years ago seems long. But even then Gordon College knew that Protestantism was different from Roman Catholicism. From Gordon College’s explanation of terminating Thomas Howard from the faculty:

    Doctrinal Differences
    As Christians living in the modern secular world, we readily affirm that Catholics and Protestants hold much in common within the historic Christian heritage. Nevertheless, it is our view that even after a generation of serious dialogue between Roman Catholics and Protestants, and in spite of the most generous definition of the sometimes popularly used term “evangelical Roman Catholic” and the active use of ecumenical hermeneutics, serious doctrinal differences continue to exist between these confessing communities. To ignore them is neither responsible biblical stewardship nor strategically beneficial to either community in the long range. It is our opinion, which you may wish to examine through active consultation, that the evangelical community which has faithfully supported the college throughout its existence would neither understand nor support such a blending of unreconciled doctrinal differences and its institutional outworking in an ecumenical Christian College.

    Our Confessional Statement

    Although it is not popular to perceive an educational institution as a confessional community, it is quite clear that we are such and that the confessional statement signed by all faculty members is unmistakably Protestant and Reformational in character. This may be seen in two places in the statement of faith where the use of typical Reformation phraseology indicates a special affirmation of certain biblical teachings and a clear negation of alternate Roman Catholic positions. The first deals with the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture (the principle of “sola scripture” of the Protestant reformers). “The sixty-six canonical books of the Bible as originally written were inspired of God, hence free from error. They constitute the only infallible guide in faith and practice.”

    The second statement of Reformation belief as over against traditional Roman Catholic teaching is found in the phrase: From this condition man can be saved only by the grace of God, through faith, on the basis of the work of Christ, and by the agency of the Holy Spirit.

    So what’s up with Islam?


  7. I too hope that Hawkins retains her position. Perhaps it’s also time for Ryken and Jones to go the way of Chip Kelly. These two clowns have shown an amazing lack of administrative deft in handling this issue.


  8. Why Wheaton wouldn’t look to the Vatican for help:

    This is the fourth time Hawkins has been asked to affirm Wheaton’s statement of faith, the Chicago Tribune reported. Previous incidents include her academic paper on black liberation theology that was interpreted by some to endorse a kind of Marxism, a Facebook photo showing her at a party on Halsted Street at the same time as Chicago’s Pride Parade, and her suggestions that the college change some of its language about sexuality.

    When asked if her previous meetings with the Wheaton administration affected the current situation, Hawkins said, “I hope not. But those were raised in the documents.”
    Hawkins’s official response to the college, which she posted on her website, quoted part of Wheaton’s questions, including a request to “clarify how it is that we worship the same God if Muslims cannot affirm that God is the Father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; or that God the Father is indeed the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; or that the Father did not spare his only begotten Son; or that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit coexist as a Trinity in eternal and self-giving love?”
    It’s complicated, Hawkins replied.

    “Both Christians and Muslims (as well as Jews) affirm fully that ‘that God is the Father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,’” she wrote. “But I also fully understand that on the simultaneous ‘no’ side, as [Timothy] George notes, while ‘Christians, like Muslims, affirm the oneness of God…[Christians] understand that oneness not in mathematical terms (as a unit)’ but as a tri-Personal, perichoretic unity.”

    Hawkins also referenced the Vatican’s Nostra Aetate, which says that Christians and Muslims worship the same “one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men.”


  9. Pope Francis,

    Since I’m a child of God already, then I can believe whatever I want. Thank you for that confirmation.


  10. Salvation outside the church:

    A man, born of Protestant parents, is baptized; lives his life as a Protestant; endeavors to keep the Commandments, without ever having a grave doubt that he is in the wrong; before death, he begs God for an act of perfect contrition for his sins, or an act of perfect charity. We can assume that he died in the state of grace.
    I am not oversimplifying the case. That man must have kept the Commandments, really and truly. He must not have followed Luther’s exhortation to sin on bravely, but believe even more strongly (“pecca fortiter, sed crede fortius”). His Protestant faith did not save him, but his fidelity to the Commandments — which he learned through the Catholic Church — did. He is saved not because of his heresy, but in spite of it.

    A second case: a heathen who has never heard the name of Christ. He obeys the natural law according to his lights. He dies a heathen, to all appearances. The Divine Mercy will not suffer such a man to be lost. It is a recognized principle that God, because He wills that all be saved, does not deny grace to him who does his best. He will infallibly give him who is faithful to the natural law sufficient illumination and enable him to make the acts of faith and charity necessary for salvation.

    But what if these persons did not reduce their carbon footprint?


  11. Does Pope Francis need more philosophy?

    In fairness, it is important to note that many of these philosophically-minded Christians do not want a cheap ecumenism that blurs all the distinctions – rather, the question becomes what differences in belief about God are “fundamental” enough to justify saying: “ok, now it is a different God?”


  12. Dr. James White ( Alpha and Omega Ministries and elder at Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church ~ 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith), posted a Dec. 22, 2015 Dividing Line “Do Christians and Muslims WORSHIP the same God?” Dr. White provides an in depth discussion, and I am sure you are aware that Dr. White is a major apologetic debater.

    Wheaton said,”No,” and that was an appropriate statement they took. Of course, they have been accused of religious bigotry and everything else in the process, and I want to explain to my Muslim friends why that is not religious bigotry at all. It is simply maintaining consistent Christian biblical beliefs. One thing is for certain, the question should force many Christians to consider just how central the Trinity is to their worship.


  13. When you insist on saying “the church” (instead of churches) and then teach that this “the church” administers “the means of grace”, then it becomes pretty important to say which church is the church. And pretty cool that a college does not distribute grace.

    Michael J. Glodo—With which of the following statements are you in greater agreement?

    1. “Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.”
    2. “Away from the church one cannot hope for any forgiveness of sins or any salvation.”

    For the average evangelical Christian the first statement may lack some balance, but the second sounds downright Romish. If this describes your reaction, then your ecclesiology is closer to the author of the first, Lenny Bruce, than to the author of the second, John Calvin (Institutes 4.1.1).

    “Bruce, satirist of organized religion and nemesis to hypocrisy, a comedian notorious for his vulgarity and impiety, nevertheless expressed a common contemporary assessment of organized religion, while Calvin’s statement seemed to betray his role as one of the primary catalysts of the Protestant Reformation.”

    Glodo—The person who says, “I’m a member of the Kingdom of God, not organized religion” is inherently contradictory. How do we know that such a person is truly converted? For that matter, how does he or she know? They have refused Christ’s appointed administration of his Kingdom and, thus, stand apart from his kingship.

    Glodo–For this reason, one cannot possess assurance of salvation indefinitely if he remains outside of the Church . He may have saving faith, but have none of Christ’s means of assuring him of it. Paul wrote, “But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother” (Galatians 4:26, NASV). Hence, Cyprian wrote, “No one has God as his father without the Church as his mother.”

    mcmark—But isn’t this concern about individual assurance of salvation way too revivalistic and baptist in the first place. Why do we need to bother asking for some “profession of faith” from one parent when we already know a child has descended from earlier generations of those who have been given grace by means of water?

    Luke 2: 48 When His parents saw Him, they were astonished, and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for You.” 49 “Why were you searching for Me?” He asked them. “Didn’t you know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”

    Luke 3: 8 Don’t start saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones!


  14. According to the anti-puritanism of old school Kuyperians, we need less discretion by college and church leaders, so that church courts (and college faculty decisions) are done by the book.

    William Young—Thesis V: Doctrinal knowledge and ethical conduct according to the Word of God are sufficient for the Christian life, without any specific religious experience of conviction of sin and conversion, or any need for self-examination as to the possession of distinguishing marks of saving grace.

    Hyper-Covenantism is marked by the neglect of, and even hostility to, experimental religion. For an understanding of what this entails, we must distinguish between what is objective and what is subjective in religion. The opening sentences of the preface to Archibald Alexander’s classic, Thoughts on Religious Experience, state this distinction clearly and concisely: “There are two kinds of religious knowledge which, though intimately connected as cause and effect, may nevertheless be distinguished. These are the knowledge of the truth as it is revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and the impression which that truth makes on the human mind when rightly apprehended.”

    Young— British Calvinists sometimes warn against holding the “doctrines of grace” without the “grace of the doctrines,” a warning identical in content with that of the inspired apostle in II Tim. 3:5. The historic Calvinist distinction and correlation of the Word and the Spirit, so eloquently enunciated by Calvin in Institutes I.ix, comes to expression in an emphasis on a subjective experience of grace rooted in the truth revealed in Scripture. In opposing Anabaptist fanaticism, Calvin did not err by reacting to an opposite extreme of denying or disparaging experimental religion.

    Young— Kuyper also refrained from adopting such an extreme repudiation of experimental religion. His followers, however, in their opposition to Anabaptism have not always been successful in maintaining as balanced a view as that of their master. The presumptivist view has encouraged talk about the covenant which, if it does not quite rule out in theory experimental religion, in practice discourages it by laying exclusive emphasis on doctrine and morals.

    Young—If covenant children are to be regarded as regenerate, then there is no need to tell them, “Ye must be born again.” Indeed, it would appear that there would be no need for these words to be addressed to Nicodemus. A theoretical cleavage may be drawn between regeneration and conversion, but in practice the child will be regarded as already converted or as being gradually and imperceptibly converted. The practice of the Christian school and catechetical training will be determined by this view…..


  15. McMark,
    Wow. To borrow from a sage, ‘you so crazy!’ I wonder if you post stuff like that just to see how many times you can make ones head spin before it pops off.
    That article was interesting: regarding the term ‘experimental religion’, I must admit it makes my hackles rise but gets my adrenaline flowing at the same time.
    I loved where it stated that it’s the hyper-covs that display antinomian tendencies.


  16. Today’s piece in Time reveals some email communications that make the Wheaton administration look pretty bad. I think it’s time to bring in DOJ.


  17. Bobby – The DOJ? The totalitarian impulse is strong in you. Should the Feds get called in on everyone you find “creepy?”


  18. dgh—“Exactly. This is why I hope Wheaton does not eliminate Hawkins from its faculty. ”

    Like me, Hart wants “evangelicals” to get worse, ie, to show themselves as they really are. But how can one still be “reformed” if one disdains all the attempts of Mike Horton and Carl Truman to move “evangelicals” back toward the old right direction? Calvin and :Luther did not merely try to reform “the Reformed”. They worked with the Magistrates to gradually reform the world.


  19. Mark, but if one considers eeeevangelicalism to be completely bankrupt (the e-word is now indicates a political category, as in “Donald Trump has x amount of the evangelical vote”), don’t those efforts start looking a little naive? And isn’t one significant difference between the magisterial reformation and now that we live in the age of disestablishment?


  20. zrim—the difference between the magisterial reformation and now that we live in the age of disestablishment?

    mcmark—yes, being “reformed” is situation dependent on what you are trying to reform. So what counts as “Reformed” now is not what Calvin and Luther were trying to do. By way of analogy, asking for a profession of faith from one parent is not something Abraham or Moses ever did.

    I do agree with Wedgeworth that Piper already gave up the farm when Piper agreed to “natural law” for cops and others who won’t leave the wrath to God. But then of course I agree with both Piper and Wedgeworth.

    Wedgeworth– Piper grounds this claim, again, in a theology of exile, saying that the gospel calls us to live “as lambs in the midst of wolves.” ….. But if being a “lamb” does not preclude a Christian from joining the military or the police—if it does not preclude politics as such—then why should it preclude home defense?

    Wegeworth—-Piper says, “Jesus died to keep that assailant from sinning against my family.”…. This is a conflation of the forensic and the transformative effects of the Cross, and it assumes that the Cross is a “personal strategy” for “crimes.”…..

    mcmark—Well, yes, I don’t like any of that “multiple intentions for the cross” stuff either, when the death of Christ is not defined as the satisfaction of justice for the sins of the imputed to Christ, but “broadened” to include all kinds of other effects—like “making an offer” or “giving God permission to then judge sinners” or other nonsense. But I do find it ironic that Wedgeworth complains about other people confusing the forensic and the transformative. Does he think “the sacrament” is forensic? Does he think that “union with Christ” is forensic?

    Wedgeworth—Wouldn’t this actually require that Jesus was giving us a new politics as such, again teaching an Anabaptist rather than Protestant view of Christian ethics?

    mcmark—Does this mean that “protestant politics” is not Christian and not new? Jesus as redeemer has nothing to do with “Protestant” ethics, because only Jesus as creator has anything to do with “Protestant” ethics, and “natural law” works for Protestants and Muslims alike? I mean, as long as it’s not new (and not “anabaptist” in suggesting any present exile)…


  21. I don’t see evangelicalism diminishing. Rather, I see the TGC style of evangelicalism diminishing, and being replaced by something more like an Enns style of evangelicalism. The future of Presbyterianism looks a lot more like the EPC than anything else. And that’s probably not a good thing for Old Lifers, as your movement is largely parasitic off of TGC evangelicalism. You may whine about them, but you attend churches run by them.


  22. Wasn’t Gordon Clark, way back when, terminated from Wheaton for being, gasp, a Calvinist? Am I remembering that correctly?


  23. What is a follower of Pope Francis to do?

    More recently, on January 6th 2016, a video-message from Pope Francis diffused all over the world’s social networks, was dedicated to inter-religious dialogue, where Catholics, Buddhists, Jews and Muslims seem to be placed on the same level, as “children of (a) God” whom everyone encounters in their own religion, in the name of some common profession of faith and love. Francis’ words, combined with those of the protagonists in the video and above all with the images, are the vehicle of a syncretistic message which contradicts, at least indirectly, the teaching as regards the redeeming uniqueness and universality of Jesus Christ and the Church, reaffirmed in the encyclical Mortalium Animos by Pius XI (1928) and the Declaration Dominus Iesus by the then Prefect for the Congregation of the Faith, Joseph Ratzinger (August 6th 2000).

    As ordinary baptized Catholics wishing to apply the theological censures of the Church to this video, we should have to define it as: inducing heresy as far as the content is concerned; equivocal and insidious as far as the form is concerned; scandalous as far as its effects on souls are concerned. The public and official judgment is up to the ecclesiastical authorities and nobody better than the present Prefect for the Congregation of the Faith, has the qualification to speak in this regard.

    Many distressed Catholics are calling on him to do just that.


  24. Indifferentism and universalism afflict the Roman Catholic church (so why would you convert?):

    9. Indifferentism – This is the widespread feeling (and teaching) that all the Christian denominations are pretty much the same and it doesn’t really matter which one you go to. It’s consumerism. Choose the one you like best. This indifferentism is widespread in our culture and widespread in the Catholic Church. Furthermore, it extends to non Christian religions and no religion at all. Huge numbers of Catholics think it is perfectly okay if a person attends not only another Christian church, but follows a different religion. “We’re all climbing the same mountain. We’re just going up different paths!” That is a load of codswallop. Any casual study of the different world religions will show that they are not all equal. Some are superior to others simply from a human perspective. Likewise with the different Christian denominations. This is sentimental clap trap.

    Do people who say this really believe it? No. Otherwise they would have to agree that a rattlesnake handling Pentecostalist from Kentucky is equal to St Francis. Would they look at the wild eyed Westboro Baptist crowd or an anti Semitic, racist Catholic fundamentalist and say benignly, “Well, we’re all pretty much the same. They’ve simply chosen a different path up the mountain.” And yet indifferentism is rife in the American Catholic Church, and that’s why Catholics don’t evangelize: they don’t think they need to.

    10. Universalism – the ugly twin sister of Indifferentism is Universalism–the teaching that God loves everyone so much that he would never send anyone to hell. In other words, in the end, everybody will be saved. Why bother if we’re all going to get into heaven simply because God is such a nice Santa Claus type figure in the sky who will make sure everyone succeeds? Like indifferentism, the Catholic Church is riddled with universalism and it’s cowardly half breed sister semi-universalism. This is the belief that there is a hell and there might just be a few people there, but there won’t be many and maybe even the ones who are there will serve their prison sentence and be allowed into heaven after all. Universalism is a cowardly, unScriptural and unChristian. It doesn’t take a Thomas Aquinas to figure out that this teaching means not only the death of evangelization, but eventually the death of the church.

    What do you do when they also afflict the pope?


  25. So where do you find the pope’s video in the Catechism?

    I have seen the look on friends’ faces when they’ve asked what the Church believes, and I showed them the Catechism. It’s a very fat book. They were hoping for something shorter. You can imagine their faces if I also showed them the documents of the Second Vatican Council, another fat book, and the documents of preceding councils, an even fatter book, and collections of papal encyclicals, a whole set of fat books, and all the lesser but still significant homilies and statements.

    Intimidating, yes, but an argument for the Church as the living voice of God through history. The Church deals with problems as they come up and answers them with authority (or leaves them open with authority). It’s the only way a religious body can remain faithful to its founding and maintain its identity. As one of the bouncy modern hymns might put it, though I’ve never heard one do this, our God is a practical God. Hence that elaboration of doctrines and details.

    I get it about Vatican 2.


  26. Wheaton college trustees invited Buswell to become Wheaton’s third president (and first ever not named Blanchard). He was the youngest college president at 31 years old. Over the next 14 years, Buswell oversaw a significant period of growth in both numbers and academic rigor. He guided the college through the process of accreditation. However, Buswell’s staunch Calvinism, fundamentalist separatism, and his reportedly difficult temperament made his tenure uneasy. After years of contentious relations on campus, the Wheaton College board of trustees fired Buswell

    George Marsden, Reforming Fundamentalism: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism

    Tim Bayly—If a single book defines the OPC, I’d nominate “Christianity and Liberalism.” And let’s be honest and admit that the CT/Billy Graham/Wheaton crowd would never give birth to such a book–as they’d also never ever give birth to Galatians, for instance. Some want to emphasize the alchohol/tobacco/dispensational angle, demonstrating that the OPC isn’t pig-ignorant, legalistic, or narrow, culturally. Fine. But the heart of the OPC isn’t scotch-drinking, cigar smoking, kilt-wearing, aesthetes. There are many, many simple humble Christians who believe that the church must always be reforming, and most of them have never smoked or worn a kilt or said a word against dispensationalism.

    Rick Phillips —“I have only recently made acquaintance with the Bob Jones style fundamentalists. (I really have no past with fundies, having been raised in a liberal presby context and having been nurtured since my conversion in the Northern Old School — Tenth Pres and WTS)…. My main reaction has been quite positive. Why? Because I have a higher affinity with what they stand for than I do with broad evangelicals. The BJU fundamentalists take the Bible seriously, they trust in the blood of Christ, they are committed to the pursuit of personal holiness, they are zealous in witnessing the gospel, and they have stood firm against gender egalitarianism.”

    Rick P—(As an aside, I find that the main problems of the BJU fundamentalists are 1) an erroneous doctrine of sanctification, 2) a doctrine of separation from other Christians that is truly outrageous and extremely detrimental to themselves, and 3) a feudalistic ecclesiology of institutional control that is largely the result of #2.)


  27. How is it that the looser Pope Francis gets, the stronger the grip of apologists on papal audacity?

    That’s not how Ronald Knox saw it:

    Referring to the Vatican, English Catholic apologist Rev. Ronald Knox reputedly offered this caution: “Better not look too closely into the engine room.” In other words, best to behold the majestic barque of Peter from some distance, rather than exposing oneself to how the leaky vessel actually operates, for that way lies disillusionment and the road to apostasy.

    For Mermaid, Susan, and James Young, the closer they look, the less they see.


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