Saturday, March 7, 2009

I'm good enough for Dr. Alister McGrath, St. Augustine, and C.S. Lewis, why not you?

I can't get the spacing on this blog to work properly at all. .. it's either 4 empty lines, or everything smashed together without space.

Anyway... so allegedly I've been becoming "Anti-Protestant" or as Michael calls it "Jerky Catholic" or triumphalistic. I don't feel like I'm any more anti-protestant than any of my Protestant friends are anti-Catholic. At least I call them Christians... So while I do not defend any outrage on my own part, I hope to at least shed some light on why I'm so very angry.

1. I'm A CHRISTIAN! - I'm getting really tired of people either telling me I'm not a Christian, or following a false gospel, idolater, etc. I cite in my defense, this man:

Dr. Alister McGrath - IUSTITIA DEI was a book written by this Oxford scholar and self-proclaimed Evangelical Anglican and in it he writes this on Catholic/Augustinian Justification (sorry to quote in full, if you trust me just skip it):

"Once justified by divine action, the sinner does not at once become a perfect example of holiness. Humans need to pray to God continually for their growth in holiness and the spiritual life, thereby acknowledging that God is the author of both. God operates upon humans in the act of justification, and co-operates with them in the process of justification. Once justified, the sinner may begin to acquire merit—but only on account of God’s grace. Merit is seen to be a divine rather than a human work. Thus it is clearly wrong to suggest that Augustine excludes or denies merit; while merit before justification is indeed denied, its reality and necessity after justification are equally strongly affirmed. It must be noted, however, that Augustine understands merit as a gift from God to the justified sinner … Hominis bona merita, Dei munera. Eternal life is indeed the reward for merit—but merit is itself a gift from God, so that the whole process must be seen as having its origin in the divine liberality, rather than in human works. If God is under any obligation to humans on account of their merit, it is an obligation which God has imposed upon himself, rather than one which is imposed from outside, or is inherent in the nature of things. … There is no hint in Augustine of any notion of justification purely in terms of ‘reputing as righteous’ or ‘treating as righteous’, as if this state of affairs could come into being without the moral or spiritual transformation of humanity of grace. The pervasive trajectory of Augustine’s thought is unambiguous: justification is a causative process, by which an ungodly person is made righteous. It is about the transformation of the impius to iustus.

Augustine has an all-embracing transformative understanding of justification, which includes both the event of justification (brought about by operative grace) and the process of justification (brought about by operative grace). Augustine himself does not, in fact, see any need to distinguish between these two aspects of justification; the distinction dates from the sixteenth century. … The righteousness which God bestows upon humanity in justification is regarded by Augustine as inherent rather than imputed, to anticipate the vocabulary of the sixteenth century. A concept of ‘imputed righteousness’, in the later Protestant sense of the term, is quite redundant within Augustine’s doctrine of justification, in that humans are made righteous in justification. The righteousness which they thus receive, although originating from God, is nevertheless located within humans, and can be said to be theirs, part of their being and intrinsic to their persons. An element which underlies this understanding of the nature of justifying righteousness is the Greek concept of deification, which makes its appearance in the later Augustinian soteriology. By charity, the Trinity itself comes to inhabit the soul of the justified sinner." - Alister McGrath (Iustitia Dei, pp. 43-44, 47-48)

Ok. So the Protestants keep saying "APOSTASY!" well if St. Augustine and those Fathers who drew the lines on the canon of Holy Scripture, upheld the Church, the doctrines of grace and Original sin - if those men were all wrong about the key point 'on which the church stands or falls', then I don't think Christianity is true. If God can't save his own Church for 16 centuries then he is either an inept or a terrible God. And if Alister McGrath is ok with my view on Justification, then I'm ok with my view on Justification.

There I said it. Leave me alone. Trent ratified St. Augustine. That is the catholic faith.

2. I only have about 2 Roman Catholic friends. Basically I'm constantly surrounded by Protestants and feel suffocated. It's like being a Calvinist and growing up in the Southern Baptist Convention. You feel like if you don't scream every once and a while, you'll wake up one morning without a voice, or worse, a desire to scream

3. I'm a sinner. I'm in counseling, and I don't have the sacraments yet, so leave me alone.

All of the below I have stolen from Dave Armstrong's "Biblical Evidence for Catholicism" blog. So let it be known I'm not trying to plagiarize anything. - I recommend reading the whole thing, I just wanted to quote part of it here:

"That the whole cause of schism lies in sin I do not hold to be certain. I grant that no schism is without sin but the one proposition does not necessarily follow the other . . . what would I think of your Thomas More and of our William Tyndale? All the writings of the one and all the writings of the other I have lately read right through. Both of them seem to me most saintly men and to have loved God with their whole heart: I am not worthy to undo the shoes of either of them. Nevertheless they disagree and (what racks and astounds me) their disagreement seems to me to spring not from their vices nor from their ignorance but rather from their virtues and the depths of their faith, so that the more they were at their best the more they were at variance. I believe the judgement of God on their dissension is more profoundly hidden than it appears to you to be: for His judgements are indeed an abyss." - C.S. Lewis (Letters: C.S. Lewis / Don Giovanni Calabria [25 November 1947], 37, 39)


  1. First off Dr. Alister McGrath is great, as well as his work Iustitia Dei. Honestly Andrew I think you should take this as my very honest opinion. Even though the likes of Luther, Owen, Spurgeon, etc. would stand very hard pressed against the doctrines found within Rome, and in a very condemning sweep cast them away. YOU are one of the reason's why I have a little faith, not in Rome or her doctrines, but in the mighty work of God in the salvation of His elect, and in that hope I try and look past our err's and God willing see His people. You have shaken a lot of my presuppositions and I see you as a brother, a brother who is part of the Church of Rome.

    And on a side-note you are becoming a bit "jerky" sometimes, but your analogy with regards to the SBC speaks loudly; it would speak more in Canada where most Baptist's are, well I don't even know (either do they).

  2. Thanks, Matt, that means alot. I definately consider both of us in God's family, in the same mysterious way that Lewis describes St. Thomas More, and John Wycliffe.

    Pax Tecum.

  3. Err - not John Wycliffe, William Tyndale.