May 09, 2007

A Protestants' Return To Catholicism

Well, CT has come out with an interview with Francis Beckwith about his return to Catholicism and as I read the article, most of it was rather uninteresting except for this paragraph:

The debate over Sola Scriptura is big between Protestants and Catholics. A Catholic thinker will say, typically, "Sola Scriptura is not mentioned in the Bible." And the Protestant will say, "It's not mentioned in the Bible, but it's implied there." But even if it's implied there, why should I accept it? Obviously, the Qur'an believes in Sola Scriptura. At some point, there has to be some connection between the church and its role and the phenomenon of Scripture.There are a lot of evangelicals who believe that and aren't Catholic. But if you accept that particularly narrow view of Sola Scriptura, then it becomes almost impossible to understand the Catholic view. And I think it's a kind of axiomatic rationalism that doesn't really capture why people convert, and why people believe things.

So let me get this straight. The Bible implies it, but I still don't have to accept it? Beckwith spends a lot of time in this article sharing why evangelicalism is in a weaker position theologically than Catholicism, but this paragraph is just out and out "willful negligence".

You know what's really odd, is that the precipitating event for his return to Catholicism was his nephew's confirmation (I think it was his nephew). You have here Beckwith saying that even if it is implied in the Scripture, that it matters more what early fathers and church had to say than the actual "God breathed" document itself. Doesn't that sound odd to anyone else?

He finished with this statement:
That is what you often find in real strong Calvinist views of God's moral nature, that things ought to be obeyed because God says so, not because he's good. In a weird way, there's an assumption that all authority is authoritarian. I deny that assumption. I think that the church was given the authority to make these judgments, and that the Holy Spirit allowed them to make those judgments and humbly accept it. So they're not inconsistent with each other

And my point made for me again. If all authority is not "authoritarian" and we are left with fallible men in the early church who were susceptible to sin and temptation just like we are today as our authorities, then movements like the "emergent" church have free reign to interpret any way they want to. To say that opinions and insights in the 2nd century are more enlightened than opinions in the 21st century is to cede that they had "special" inspiration, leading, and guiding from the Holy Spirit than we do today and I just don't believe that. We cannot have theology and foundation built on "opinions" as they are not God breathed.

One more note on this. How does he square the priesthood, confession, veneration of Mary, etc etc with the Bible? Honestly?

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