St. Teresa of Calcutta, saint of darkness

Mother Teresa was canonized on Sunday, officially declared to be a saint.  It isn’t necessary to be a Roman Catholic to appreciate this woman, who ministered to the poor and the dying on the streets of Calcutta.

Her example and the sense of holiness she conveyed persuaded many, such as Malcolm Muggeridge, to become a Christian.  Nevertheless, it is said that she experienced spiritual doubt and depression, a “dark night of the soul” that lasted some 50 years.

She wrote, “If I’m going to be a saint, I’m going to be a saint of darkness, and I’ll be asking from heaven to be the light of those who are in darkness on Earth.”  According to a priest involved with her canonization, she experienced both the physical poverty of the poor and the spiritual poverty of the “unloved, unwanted, uncared for.”

I have heard this period of darkness referred to as evidence that Teresa “was not perfect,” but I think it makes her holiness more believable.  The life of faith is not “perfection,” nor constant joy; rather, it often involves what Luther called “tentatio”–struggle, conflict, agony of conscience–and her descriptions of her depression shows that her faith was in Christ and not her own good works, which she had in such abundance.

In honor of her canonization, I will link and excerpt the speech she made at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1994, in which she gave a compelling critique of abortion.  Afterwards, she received a standing ovation, with President and Mrs. Clinton, also on the dais, staying in their seats.

[Read more…]

The “danger” in Luther’s doctrine of vocation?

A few months ago, Covenant Seminary Professor Dan Doriani wrote a post at Gospel Coalition entitled The Power—and Danger—in Luther’s Concept of Work.  It’s a good piece, and the author has a good understanding of the importance of Luther’s doctrine, including love and service to the neighbor.

But at the end, he moves to what he considers the “Danger” of Luther’s teaching.  Briefly, he says that Luther’s understanding of God’s calling sanctifies the status quo.  If you are in a lowly “dehumanizing” job, if you think of it as a calling from God, then you would never leave it.

It took Calvin, he says, to perfect Luther’s doctrine of vocation.

Read the entire post.  I quote part of it after the jump.  Then I try to answer the criticisms. [Read more…]

The six signs of demonic possession?

Beliefnet has an interview with Father Gary Thomas, a Vatican-certified exorcist that is very interesting, though I’m not sure what I think of it.  After the jump, I give his “six classic signs of demonic possessions,” as well as what he says about how to protect yourself from demons.

Two of the signs are “aversion to the sacred” and “the rolling of the eyes.”  I knew it!  Teenagers who don’t want to go to church and give you that eye-rolling look are possessed by the devil!

But, really, being in thrall to Satan is surely less dramatic than what is described here, a matter of being in bondage to sin and unbelief.  Just as protecting yourself from Satan is also undramatic–go to church, pray, have faith in Christ, etc.–which Father Thomas says, though in terms of Roman Catholic theology.

And yet, I’m not denying that these extreme cases exist.  What do you think?  What is the distinctly Roman Catholic theology in what Father Thomas says? [Read more…]

“The issue will come and find you”

Liberal Baptist theologian and LGBT advocate David Gushee says that there is no middle ground when it comes to acceptance of LGBT rights.  Churches and individuals must either accept them or not, and if they don’t they will face dire consequences.

He says that affirmation of LGBT issues is already mandatory in government, education, medicine, corporations, the entertainment industry, sports, and nonprofits.  The only holdouts are conservative Christians and their institutions, which are digging in and trying to invoke religious liberty.  But if they don’t change their tune, they will be forced to close down or be treated with the same contempt that racists receive today.

Read what he says, excerpted and linked after the jump.  Then read Rod Dreher on Gushee’s threats in his piece We Have Been Warned. [Read more…]

Saying God is transgender

The contours of a new liberal theology, one in accord with the new ideology of sex and gender, are starting to come together.  (Liberal theologians have never found a new leftist ideology that they don’t like and won’t refashion theology around.)  A rabbi has written an op-ed in the New York Times maintaining that God is transgender.

After the jump, read why he thinks so and read a response from a Bible scholar.

The argument hinges on confusing linguistic gender with natural gender, confusing a Being who transcends gender with someone who purports to change the sex he or she was born as, and scholarly bloopers of an embarrassing scale.  But it exemplifies how liberal theologians often twist the Bible so that it can seem to support their ideology.

[Read more…]

ELCA makes new accord with Catholics

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (the theologically liberal Lutheran denomination) has arrived at a new accord with the Roman Catholic Church, focusing on church, ministry, and eucharist. Read the document here.

After giving all of the agreements that were found, the document gives the issues of disagreement that remain:  the papacy and women’s ordination (which ELCA practices).

That would sound like Missouri Synod Lutherans, who agree that only men may be ordained into the holy ministry, are even closer to Rome than the ELCA, disagreeing only on the authority of the pope!

To be sure, there would be quite a bit of agreement even with the LCMS on church, ministry, and eucharist–though also quite a lot of disagreements that have been papered over.  (Find them.)

If the ELCA wants to heal the breach with Rome, I would encourage them now to discuss abortion, gay marriage, and sexual morality.  The differences would be much greater, though perhaps in the name of ecumenism the ELCA would change its permissive teachings. [Read more…]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X