Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bitter Rant: Practicality and Theology

I had a discussion with my mom yesterday about justification again. I said that if the Reformers are right and it is imputed then I think God should let me in anyway because I've spent more time investigating this doctrine than arguably any other topic in my life. It seems like it's the only thing that ever gets discussed.

I actually had this dream the other night. My dad and I were standing on the edge of a cliff debating about Luther, Imputed Righteousness, Trent, etc, and I just threw myself off the cliff... I jumped. I've never died in a dream before - that was the first time. So I died in the dream and then everything was just black like a TV turned off, and then I realized there was no God, no doctrine of justification, etc, and that I'd wasted my entire life talking about an issue for which there seemed to be no answer and ultimately had no applicability.

yep. I don't actually consciously believe that, it's obviously an important issue if I debate it so much, but maybe subconsciously it's turned me into more of a Deist. I HATE it when people say just 'pray God will lead you into ALL Truth" and then quote John 16 whatever. You know what, God has actively led me into no truth. I've read books and that's how I learn truth, I talk to people and I learn truth. I suppose you could call those things passive leading or God working through secondary causes but at the end of the day, it's all the same result, God says nothing sensibly (ie. can't 'feel' 'hear' etc), I bitterly argue about what he does and thinks, and he still does nothing sensibly. There's theology. It's like waking up in a locked room with 10 other people and then you start arguing about what's outside the room even though no one has any idea about it. It's a bad example because it excludes revelation, but whatever, this is a rant.

And then I read Jared's blog where Irenaeus says the the pillar and bulwark of truth in the Church was the gospel and thought SHIT! it can't be that, it has to be some kind of ethereal kingship left by Peter in a way foreign to scripture... so now my ecclesiology - which was the only clear part of my faith - is utterly shaken, because that gospel = church argument was Calvin's and McGrath misled me by saying no one had argued that before in his book "Christianity's dangerous idea" and now I want to mail an angry letter to Alister McGrath for ruining my week.

And I enter either the Whore of Babylon and damn myself or the "One true church" and save myself in 8 days and 7 hours... and I don't even care about any churches anymore, or theology. All I can think of is how much I hate theology now and how lucky everyone else in the world is who just go along with their protestant lives not questioning anything, not opening a book on church history, not caring to explain their positions at all, just to condemn me.

domine iesu christe miserere mei peccatoris...
kyrie eliesen.

rant over


and to all the worried Catholic spies, don't worry i'll enter your church as planned, you'll have your convert and then everyone can go along not caring as usual... so much for an 'exciting' 'celebration' heh...


  1. Irenaeus saying the gospel is the pillar and bulwark of the truth in no way contradicts anything in Catholic teaching. Furthermore, I doubt any Protestant would claim Irenaeus' statement trumps that of St. Paul in I Timothy 3.15.

    On Sunday, pay attention during Mass at the role of Scripture in the liturgy. You will see that, as far as instruction goes, nothing is more prominent or holds a higher place. This perfectly fulfills Irenaeus' statement.

    The ontological nature of the gospel is not in question in the debate between Catholics and Protestants. What is in debate is whether the Scriptures are meant to be wrested from the Tradition of the Church and interpreted (for matters of doctrine) by every individual, qualified or unqualified. Catholics say no to this, and Protestants ultimately say yes (note: I oversimplified both the Catholic and Protestant positions here...but they are ultimately generally right).

    Don't fall into the Protestant trap of creating false dichotomies and false inconsistencies ("it is either the Pope or the Gospel," "it is either your traditions or the Bible," "it is either liturgy or real worship [with guitars, bongos, and Bob Marley]", "it is either imputed righteousness or infused righteousness," etc.). Letting them insert those assumptions into your mind is the beginning of a lot of frustration and distortion of truth.

  2. I know I'm a Catholic, I believe the progression God => Reason => Revelation => Tradition, I just don't think Church history is as simple as Catholic apologetics seem to make it appear.

    and don't worry, I already told you, you've won, I've sided with St. Thomas More not Thomas Cranmer, but like More, I still have many questions. but you have your convert, i've chosen to be an obedient reformer.

  3. Ha ha...yeah...I am trying to protet my ticket out of Purgatory ;-)

    God bless you. Questions are good.

    Church history is certainly not simple, but it is most certainly decisive. As Cardinal Newman said in his glorious work, "To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant." Which is why, I guess, he ceased to be Protestant.