Friday, July 11, 2008

False Dichotemies?

I've been accused by Catholics of setting up false dichotemies. It is a claim leveled at all Protestant Christians as well, when they say Tradition and Scripture contradict one another. Now I can understand the Catholics' anger when some say this, because 99.9% of Protestants have never read a single church council. Indeed I was a baptist for 18 years and never heard of the Apostles' Creed. I didn't even know what a creed was.

I also admit that in light of everyone I know being angry at me for trying to become Catholic, I AM looking for an easy out, and thus sometimes when I read the church fathers I read quotes anachronistically and making them sound like Luther etc. HOWEVER, there is in my opinion many True Dichotemies that can't just be dismissed. I think that Traditions DO contradict Scripture and thus hold more of an Anglo-Orthodox perspective.

Here is a simple example. "a bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate....not quarrelsome, and not a lover of money." - 1 Timothy 3:2-3. In Roman Catholicism the Tradition (church discipline technically) is "a bishop cannot be the husband of one wife" and I need only guide you to "The Borgia Popes" for a great example of a 1 for 1 contradiction of everything St. Paul writes here about a Bishop. So to say that clerical celibacy and scripture are but horse and rider, is idiotic.

There are other dichotemies as well, and entire Catholic books written in defense of such contradictions and near-contradictions, so to say outright that it is idiotic and maniacal Protestants inventing these dichotemies, it is not. It is history itself.

Also remember the words of Our Lord Jesus, who I guess was just being an irksome protestant as well, when he said: "in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" - Mark 7:7 KJV. Now this is clearly to the pharisees regarding the law, HOWEVER, it does show that there are traditions that religious leaders have which contradict God's law. (And I can debate all day on Matthew 16).

Now, there are some traditions which I believe to be valid of course. For example, the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. It's an old tradition, you find it in Origen's commentary on Matthew, Ignatius of Antioch, Jerome, Athanasius, Ambrose, and others. Guess who else believed in her perpetual virginity? John Calvin, Martin Luther, Zwingli, and John Wesley. This idea that Mark Driscoll talks about where she could never have been a virgin all her life, is based more on modern conceptions of sex, than Holy Tradition. So yes, I believe it is a true historical tradition of the Church that is a part of the deposit of faith. However there are dichotemies I believe, and the Eastern and Western split of 1054 shows that people long before protestants knew that there were contradictions.

Hence why I say:
Scripture, Tradition, Logic.

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