As Iron Sharpens Iron

An ongoing and online discussion between: an Orthodox informed Ecumaniac without a denominational home, an ordained Baptist youth pastor with an open mind, a Calvinist worship leader/seminarian with a staggering vocabulary and ability to make a point, and a cradle Catholic with a love/hate relationship to Rome.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Brick Walls

Okay, we seem to have hit some sort of brick wall because you keep avoiding the one question I really want you to answer. I have said that my final authority is Scripture. Your ultimate criticism of this is that by doing that, I have no real accountability and ultimately what I choose to believe is left up to my own whims.

Then you proceed to say that we should submit to the authority of THE church. "Which church?", Josh asks. Your response, apparently, is the church represented by what you have chosen to believe. All you have done is widen the circle of that which influnces what you believe from the Bible to the Bible and the councils that you have chosen to accept.

I have no problem accepting the councils and the creeds for what they did well...helping define and clarify the Bible. A good systematic theology class does the same thing. What I cannot accept is when a council, of humans, begins to espouse doctrine that is not clearly laid out in the Bible. You have rejected the doctrine of Immaculate Conception for that reason. I reject the doctrine of Real Presence for the same reason.

There is no one denomination that represents the one true church any more. The church is now found in the conglomeration of churches that exist, the true believers that exist in all the various denominations. Was that God's will? Absolutely not! I believe that God truly desired there to be only one universal church. Unfortunately, as with many of God's perfect plans, we went and messed it up.

2 Comments:

Blogger fra edwin said...

I am curious about your objections to the Real Presence.

7:32 AM  
Blogger Hajiburton said...

Brother Josh,

I must say that I agree with Chris (and the mass of catholicism) that the modern protestant application of "sola scriptura" does tend to reduce us to personal (or at best church-sized) theological ghettoes. But this does not destroy my belief in protestant epistemology. It must be remembered, (as I'm sure you do), that the major reformers (Menno Simons aside), never intended that Scripture be interepretted and its meaning decided by the individual! I do not have the Institutes in front of me, but Calvin was very clear that Scripture is to be interpretted by the COMMUNITY of BELIEVERS. That is to say, the people of God gathered can expect to discern what the Spirit says to teh Churches.(Thus the Reformed emphasis on preaching which has bled into most parts of the protestant tradition). The Reformers knew far better than we do that "Scripture is of no private interpretation."

It is interesting to me, however, that you choose to employ the doctrine of the Real Presence as something that isn't in Scripture. There are at least things to suggest it, if not to prove it, (unlike the Immaculate Conception, which the great mass of Scripture actually implies AGAINST). Just to clarify for Fra Edwin, et al, I do not accept the doctrine of the Real Presence either, but affirm the Reformed teaching of the Real Spiritual Presence, since I believe it does a better job of preserving the mystery in which Scripture shrouds the working of the sacrament.

Scholastically,
Sir R.F. Burton

8:26 AM  

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