"The press . . . just doesn't get religion." - William Schneider
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Protestants involved with ECT have traded the eternal for the temporal. They have sacrificed the primary objective of defending the Gospel in an effort to advance the secondary objective of winning the culture war. In so doing, they have come close to saying that the Reformation was all one big misunderstanding. I guarantee you that the men who wrote the Canons of the Council of Trent understood quite well what was at stake.
The difference between Catholic and Protestant is not the same as the difference between Presbyterian and Baptist. The central issue between Catholic and Protestant – then as well as now – is the nature and basis of Justification. This is an essential difference, touching as it does the very definition of the Gospel itself. It cannot (and should not) be covered over by a shared agreement on the murderous nature of abortion.
>Protestants involved with ECT have traded the >eternal for the temporal.
To name but a few, D. James Kennedy, John MacArthur, R. C. Sproul, James White, Michael Horton, and John Ankerberg. R.C Sproul for example wrote an entire book in response to ECT called “Getting the Gospel Right.” A link is provided.
I would add John Piper to the list but I couldn’t verify it. Still, given what I know of his theology, it would be a safe bet.
ECJ is proof positive that the edginess is alive and well – I would add that having read his assertion and his references, I believe the edginess is the result of a profound and perhaps deliberate ignorance of Catholicism.
Justification is also an issue for a number of RCs who have criticised ECT, including Richard John Neuhaus, Michael Novak and George Weigel:
“I would add that having read his assertion and his references, I believe the edginess is the result of a profound and perhaps deliberate ignorance of Catholicism.”
I know Catholic Theology better than virtually every Catholic with whom I converse. Only one has seriously pushed me, and he is a Feeneyite. I am not ignorant of what the RCC teaches. I reject it with my eyes wide open.
However, to accuse my “references” of “profound and deliberate ignorance” simply betrays a lack of familiarity with their work. Those men listed are all significant players in Protestant Theology and Apologetics. Do you really think they are deliberately ignorant? To ask the question is to answer it.
I thank God for Touchstone as just one measure in bringing us together. I love all the Catholic and Orthodox writers contributing to Touchstone, but press us hard on veneration of the saints and Mary, the doctrine of the Mass, Justification and the cleavage opens up.
So let’s live and let live, build together, exercise charity and push on, but please don’t squeeze us up too tight. Otherwise, ouch!
Jesus will sort it all out when he comes!
A five point Calvinist who counts Catholics among his friends, indeeds fights alongside them on the ethical issues!
Jeremy and Doug: What’s the point here?
Two single word posts with links to diametrically opposite material are unedifying to say the least. They’ve already generated some sharp comments that are just as unenlightening.
If you have something to say on this vital topic, say it. Don’t just lob linkbombs over the transom with a Beavisism attached.
“… press us hard on veneration of the saints and Mary, the doctrine of the Mass, Justification and the cleavage opens up. So letâ€™s live and let live, build together, exercise charity and push on, but please donâ€™t squeeze us up too tight. Otherwise, ouch!”
This is precisely the attitude to which I referred. Those things you listed – the Doctrine of the Mass, Justification, and the Marian dogmas – are more important than anything we can build together. They determine whether we should or should not evangelize Roman Catholics. The central implicit assumption of ECT is that there is no such need.
The Feeneyite Catholic who tells me to my face I am going to Hell is a good friend of mine. We do not require doctrinal agreement to be friends. We can even work together on many things. But that friendship and shared effort should never form the basis for compromising Truth. I evangelize him. He returns the favor. One of us is dreadfully wrong. And that difference the Lord Jesus will most certainly sort out when He returns.
P.S. Glad to see another Calvinist on the board.
Popular protestantism, particularly the megachurch variety is still frequently, trenchantly anti-catholic. Witness as prominent an Evangelical as Ted Haggard.
Noll’s perspective by contrast is that of a relatively small bloc of haute bourgeoisie been-to-grad-school politically and tehologically liberalizing evangelicals who like the cultural cachet of Catholicity in liturgy and (some!) “progressive” social teachings–just as Jim Wallis is constantly citing how great this stuff is. But they pick and choose, just as “Emergent” Christians do, and they really have no real interest in actual, orthodox Catholicism. In fact, they are rather offended by it when they see it. John Paul II had an aspect Evangelicals could latch onto. I suspect too that many Evangelicals looking favorably at catholicism now do so for the same reason that many “spirit of Vatican II” liberal catholics do: they see a church where confession and much else is optional, if not effectively discarded.
Benedict XVI may mark a real shift away from the kind of catholicism that Evangelicals full of slavation inflation and moralistic therapeutic deism can easily admire.
Read RJN’s comments on “The Evangelical Moment” in the lates issue of First Things if you don’t buy what I’m saying here.
To Catholics, anyone who remains Protestant is *by definition* “ignorant of Catholicism”. Evidence: I don’t think I have ever heard a Catholic say “Yes, X is an Evangelical who understands Catholicism quite well even though he rejects it”. Before anyone jumps on me over this assertion, please cite me a counter-example.
It’s because Catholicism is a combination of universalism (as regards who is called by God to be saved) with hemi-demi-semi-Pelagianism (as to why some accept the call and others reject it).
As for “the Reformation was just a big misunderstanding”, ask your local priest “So Luther was right then? You’ll preach that next Sunday?”… and see how far you get. He will very quickly set you straight about the two cardinal (NPI) errors of Protestantism: (a) to believe that we are saved by faith, not by works; and (b) to accuse Catholicism of teaching salvation by works.
As for the implication that unless you can prove that “Aslan means no more and no less than St Tash, Help of Calormenes”, you’re back to burnings at the stake… this is a highly dangerous path to take. Because it implies that unless you can nail together some figleaf of doctrinal unity, it’s logical for one side to persecute the other. Whereas “let the tares and the wheat grow side by side” in no way involves trying to prove that wheat and tares are really the same thing.
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