Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Difficult Gospel - Issues with Catholicism (2)

1. I just read the best argument I've ever read against Catholic apologetics : - I didn't say it was genius or even astonishing, but that among the cookie-cutter arguments against Catholicism, this is actually a reasonable, unique, and non-polemical argument.

His argument is that Protestantism trusts authority based on Expertise, whereas Catholicism trusts authority based on Office (Papacy).

It also shows that for one who believes the Magesterium to be an inerrant interpretor of Scripture, no argument using Scripture can levelled against such a person. Which is philosophically also true.

Historical Theology
2. The claim has been made - I haven't had time to investigate it thoroughly - that the Council of Trent affirms the "Two-Source Theory" of Revelation, that Revelation was partim et partim partly written and partly unwritten, and that Trent declared Tradition and Scripture to be the two sources for faith and morals. Whereas Vatican II taught to the contrary that Scripture - God's written word, was materially sufficient and that Tradition was merely a tool of interpretation. Ergo=> the Roman Church taught Sola Scriptura - a fact that would finally get my Reformed friends to recant Sola Scriptura , the Catholics taught it lol.

Personal Experience (part 1)
3. a) I felt peace while in the Roman Catholic Church for about a month after I joined. Quite possibly because whether officially damned or officially saved, at least there was some closure. I also stopped reading theology. I just started up again and have found the same old feelings and frustrations. The constant weight of my own soul upon my shoulders. The fact that at any moment I could fail to persevere and lose my salvation.

It's EXACTLY like when Jonathon Edwards is writing in Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God about how men are on the very precipice of Hell, waiting to fall into it for eternity, completely helpless. Just imagine that Sermon without the gracious call at the end to repentence and salvation. And then imagine living that for your whole life.

The resistible intrinsic grace of Catholicism seems so weak to the dominating extrinsic grace of Protestantism. The problem being that both pale in comparison to the complete extrinsic grace of Universalism. If it's a game of which theology makes me personally feel nice, then the Quakers win every time.

Personal Experience (part 2)
3. b) The problem of course is that part of me wants my free-wheeling Lutheran Anti-Nomianism (which the Reformers didn't really teach, but I always malign them as teaching) which allows me to live a life of sin free of guilt and in the constant blessing of salvation. I want, in short, God to bless my hedonism. I would plunge into the depths of my sloth and gluttony, and burn only with lust. And I would baptize all that unholiness with the doctrine of imputed righteousness.

I would use the snow to preserve my dungheap.

This too is against the religion of the bible which states in 1 John that those who deliberately sin continually have neither seen him, nor know him.

4. Find The Gospel in Catholicism - The whole Roman system is based around the idea that humanity is always thinking it will be saved and constantly doubting the reality of Hell and the wrath of God. There remains for ones like myself who are terrified and (mostly) obedient children to be the ones constantly fearing judgment when we should least (maybe). I'm tired of the Law, I need some Gospel. If there really remains no Gospel in Catholicism then I'll have to rethink some things (become a deist after all or an anti-nomian lutheran). But I'm sure Pascal, A Kempis, De Sales, or others have hidden it somewhere. I'm sure in one of the vaults of the Vatican, the gratuitous grace and mercy of God has been hidden festering next to the doctrine of Predestination.


  1. I am a Protestant, I am of the Reformed tradition. I can only say this Andrew, rely more on Scripture. You sound like Luther before his conversion, with the weight upon your back. Andrew pre-Trent the medieval Catholic Church only recognized Scripture as the final authority. You can try and resolve that with Vatican-II, but Tridentine doctrine still sounds contrary to their decree.

    Don’t reject the divines of the past they are dead “saints” for a reason, but realize they are not an authority. Very often you “ally” yourself with brilliant men you feel walk hand in hand with yourself, men such as Lewis, Augustine, Aquinas, etc. etc. But at the end of the day their brilliance, and work for the Body of Christ is fallible. Just as we both are. I don’t know what advice to give you, because very often I don’t even have advice for myself.

    I remember one time we were talking about the fallible decision in infallible Scripture and I said to you that you have the fallible decision in an infallible Magisterium. I pray that everything works out accordingly for God’s glory, and not yours or mine. I will end it with the same way I started the comment. I am a Protestant, I am of the Reformed tradition. I believe in Sola Fidei and that means that we (the catholic church, the church universal, the body of Christ) are saved by faith and not our doctrine. May God work through the imperfections of the visible church and progress His Kingdom over our failures.
    Take Care!

  2. I said the dead saints are not an authority, I meant to say ultimate or final mistake...