Great production and excellent theology. But even at Christmas I hope we can – occasionally at least – remember the larger context that includes the cross and resurrection. Without that, we would have been worse off than if God had not so clearly revealed himself. (Having trouble with the 10 Commandments? Good luck with the Sermon on the Mount!) See my popular treatment of Gal 4:4-5 in http://www.nestheology.org/2011/12/11/the-entire-christmas-story-in-one-verse/ Thanks!
Hi Mike… didn’t know how else to email you. As someone who has appreciated your theological reflections and often nuanced and mediating views (e.g. New Perspective), I would very much like to know how I might respond to well meaning but very conservative brothers/sisters whi simply do not believe Roman Cathollic believers can be genuinely Christian – arguing, if indeed they were, why would they remain in a Catholic church which has so many unbiblical dogmas. This came up as a dinner discussion over attending a carols service being sponsored by a catholic church – the assumption being that there could be not real genuine Christian element in anything with a sniff of catholicism. Your wisdom would be much appreciated. By the way, my own person view is that there are genuine followers of Christ in the Catholic church who remain catholic with a good conscience – even if they do not subscribe to all t’s dogmas. Regards, Susan
Christians have wrestled with this since the Reformation. My response is: (1) We have good reason for a genuine protestant against Rome because of unbiblical practices like Mariology and sacraments – lot of that stuff ain’t kosher, and we need to hold Catholics to account; However, (2) The definition of a Christian in Rom 10.9-10 is far broader than our own denominational and even Protestant proclivities; (3) The Catholic Church was our church prior to 1517, so we should think of the Catholic Church as our mother who has gone a bit crazy, to her own peril, but she’s still our mother; (4) We should take each Catholic man or woman on their own merits and ask if they understand the truth of the gospel and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, rather than generalize; (5) We should take seriously the words of John 17 to genuinely seek unity with others who call on Christ’s name (this was a command, not a recommendation); and (6) I love referring such folks to the charming story of what Charles Spurgeon said when he visited a Catholic church in Belgium. http://euangelizomai.blogspot.com/2008/12/spurgeon-on-catholicism.html
Thank you so much Mike for your helpful response. May the Lord bless you and your family as you seek to love and serve Him.
In the past you also made a link to Michael Jensen’s comments about the recognition of our links with the Roman Catholi Church as well as the need for a continued recognition of why the reformation was / is necessary. I can’t seem to find it to post a link but you may know where it is!