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.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Clarification by the Catholic

The problem here is that it seems like you are elevating the traditions of men to an equal status with Scripture.

Yes, but that is not new. Scripture has always been considered a part of tradition in the Church. Comparatively, the ideas of Sola Scriptura are relatively new. I should emphasize that, by Tradition, I don't mean trivial stuff. I mean things like the Creeds and the Ecumenical councils, not things decided on the whim of one Bishop (the Pope) or even one area of the Church, but the whole Church deciding things together.

I might not have a problem submitting myself to the authority of the church prior to the Middle Ages, but the Catholic Church went off the deep end after that.

I would submit myself to the authority of the RCC, except that I can't without adhering to all their beliefs, which include some I don't accept (like the Immaculate Conception). It would be a lie. But I'm not specifically referring to them. Usually, when referring to the ancient Church, I have something that most resembles the modern day Orthodox churches in mind. Although I would say this: the Holy Father used to be in authority over all the Western churches. The Bible is very explicit about how we should respond to authority, even that which is not doing what it should. The Protestant movement was one of hubris, not humility. St. Francis is an example of a humble Reformer who didn't divide, but healed.

And lest we forget, there wasn't a universal church when the Orthodox and Catholic churches divided.

Really, even before that. The Copts divided some time before. I entirely accept there were divisions before the Reformation, but they multiplied exponentially afterward. Also, those divided churches pre-Reformation were much closer in theology than Protestant churches are with the ancient Church, or even with each other.

I do not trust in the church because the church is made up of humans. I don't even trust myself, which is why I am willing to constantly evaluate my non-essential beliefs in the light of new evidence. I trust in Christ.

I gots news. The Church is Christ. St. Paul is very clear that we are the Body of Christ. If you don't trust the Church, you aren't trusting Christ. Remember the way Daddy talked about his role as father, placed in authority over us? He was, in a very real sense, Christ to us. This is an awesome responsibility, at which he sometimes failed. Same with the Church.


Blogger Hajiburton said...


It might be useful here to insert a distinction. I noticed that the quote you responded to used a lower-case 'c' for church, and you used a capital. The difference is important. The Church Universal (big C) is how we might refer to the called-out, the believers, the People of God in every nation and denomination- all of those in every age who have trusted in Christ for their salvation. To speak of the church (little c) is to speak of institutions, particular groups, confessional and communal, who refer to themselves as Christian. Although the Church is certainly the body of Christ, against whom hell will not prevail, the church is often compromised, and often mistaken, even in essentials.

Sir R.F. Burton

4:53 PM  
Blogger The Poor Blogger said...

I was going to disagree with you, but if you have a relatively wide definition of the Church (and I do) then we have to allow that there is deviation in essentials.

Actually, a definition of "the Church" might be helpful here. The Eastern Orthodox would say there is no Church without a Bishop, or without the True Faith. If that is the case, many Protestants are, de facto, outside of the Church. As am I. And, probably, Roman Catholics. Copts are a little more forgiving.

Roman Catholics, I guess, would have a similar definition. They are more gracious about including the Eastern Orthodox, as well as Protestants (more or less), in their definition.

So, what is my definition? You can find it here:

I'll write more on this topic in another reply.


7:47 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home