Even When Doctrine Doesn’t Change Doctrine Changes

Changes in pastoral practice indicate changes in understanding of doctrine:

The fact of the matter is that any doctrine that is not upheld is worthless. It becomes a doctrine that we are not willing to practice and, therefore, a doctrine that we do not really believe. That is where the PCA is at this time in her history. By these judicial decisions that elevate church polity above theology, the court is officially saying that she is not willing to decide between justification by faith alone and legalism; that she is not willing to reject the teaching of baptismal regeneration; and on and on.

Changing doctrine is better than ignoring doctrine. Ignoring doctrine is a bigger change than changing doctrine.


11 thoughts on “Even When Doctrine Doesn’t Change Doctrine Changes

  1. A decade after all the FV rumpus in NAPARC it has to be admitted that Rob Rayburn and many like him were right in that the written papers against FV were indeed not binding, indeed had zero teeth. Not only in the PCA , but throughout NAPARC. The Reformer’s (not just Luther) believed that the doctrine’s of grace, justification, imputation were indeed the doctrines by which the Church stands or falls. They were Biblically correct to hold that view. Best I can tell not many NAPARC leaders think FV is any big whoop nowadays, even though FV is very clearly alive, well and growing. Nine Declarations, committee meetings, studies, papers. words, just words in a puffed up hollowed Protestant Sacerdotal good old boy environment. No thanks!

    In an airplane when the pilot and co-pilot give each other that kind of professional courtesy people die. The ecclesiastical plane is in a nose dive on the issue of Federal Vision. Men are soft peddling these doctrinal issues, making them non issues. I appreciate the loyalty to fellow church men/ elders, I appreciate the high view of the Presbyterian church process, wanting to not cause unnecessary controversy, but this is an example (over the last 10 yrs) of mis-guided professional courtesy, an over realized ecclesiology in a sense, one that has greatly hurt the Church and truncated the gospel. They were then and they are now very big issues. The people speaking out against it are not the ones causing the ruckus.

    “Westminster confesses justification by faith alone; Federal Vision theology undermines “faith alone” – and Leithart even goes so far as to say, “Covenant faithfulness [which includes works] is the way of salvation, for the doers of the law will be justified at the final judgment”


  2. Start making sense:

    For St. John Paul II, insistence that divorced and civilly remarried must refrain from Communion was a “pastoral and prudential choice.” Now, Pope Francis has made a different choice. The principles laid out by the two popes are the same, they just have adopted different applications.

    Got that?


  3. Darryl,

    Ok, but in pretty sure that JPII didn’t think 98% of RC marriages were invalid or that cohabitation get couples had the virtues of marriage. Though to be fair, Francis keeps changing doctrine so often it is hard for the RC apologists to keep up.

    In other news, Bryan is whining about Challies on a Protestant website assuming that Protestantism is true while ignoring all this pope has said about marriage. This pope is a gift to the Reformation.


  4. See?

    The Modernist revolution ‘came out of the closet’, if you will, at the time of the Second Vatican Council, but nowhere was its agenda made more abundantly apparent than in the systematic destruction of the Roman Rite, which took place in the aftermath of Vatican II and with the full blessing of the Spirit of Vatican II.

    Once it is understood why Modernists at the ‘heart and bosom’ of the Church attacked the Mass first—because it was the liturgical stronghold, if you will, in which Catholic doctrine had been protected for centuries, and in which even the Latin itself made experimentation and novelty nearly impossible, and which day after day reinforced Catholic ideas so repugnant to Modernist notions of ecumenism, dialogue, universal salvationism, and ultimately the false moral liberty (a mere extension of the Modernists’ crowning achievement of a false religious liberty) on which the rise of abortion, contraception and the destruction of Christian marriage were wholly dependent—then it is easy to understand what’s been going on in the Church for a long time. Quite simply, we are all the victims of a massive Modernist coup d’état, for which our poor, beleaguered pontiff is nothing more than the ultimate poster boy.

    The ascendency of Pope Francis to the Chair of St. Peter has always been the endgame of the Modernists


  5. Teaching does change, see?

    Indeed, Catholics have a new teaching now, not only on divorce and remarriage. We have a new vision of the Eucharist. It’s worth recalling that in January the pope, coyly, not ruling it out, suggested to a group of Lutherans in Rome that they, too, should “talk with the Lord” and “go forward.” Indeed, they later took Communion at Mass in the Vatican. In a way, that was even more significant. A Catholic couple, divorced and remarried, are sinners, but – at least in principle – still Catholic. Has intercommunion with non-Catholic Christians also been decided now without any consultation – almost as if such a momentous step in understanding the Sacrament of Unity hardly matters?

    I say this in sorrow, but I’m afraid that the rest of this papacy is now going to be rent by bands of dissenters, charges of papal heresy, threats of – and perhaps outright –schism. Lord, have mercy.


  6. Or, you can just ignore the pope:

    As hard as it might be to follow, my basic advice to ministers of holy Communion in the context of divorced-and-remarried Catholics is to ignore the coming furor over the pope’s endorsement of an ambiguously worded document from some local bishops, and just follow the law of the Church, which is quite clear, unless and until that law is formally changed, at which point (if it comes to that) we will sit down and figure out what the new law directs.


  7. This is how doctrine changes. You forbid female priests even while establishing ecumenical ties with churches with female bishops.

    ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM SWEDEN Pope Francis has said he thinks the Roman Catholic church’s ban on priestly ordination for women will continue forever, saying his predecessor Pope John Paul II’s declaration on the matter “goes in that direction.”
    Francis expressed his thoughts on the subject in response to a question Tuesday from a journalist aboard the papal flight back to Rome after a two-day visit to Sweden.

    The journalist, a Swede, mentioned that among those who welcomed Francis during his visit was Lutheran Archbishop Antje Jackelen of Uppsala. Jackelen is the primate of the Church of Sweden and a woman.

    “Is it realistic to think that there might be women priests also in the Catholic church in the next few decades?” the journalist asked the pope.

    “On the ordination of women in the Catholic church, the last word is clear,” Francis responded, before mentioning John Paul’s 1994 apostolic letter banning the practice, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. “It was given by St. John Paul II and this remains.”

    Nothing to see when you shrug so hard your shoulders block your view.


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