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My work here is done.
From the review:
I for one, do not. I look with intentness at the early Church. I trust the Apostolic teaching. However, I don’t think it follows that the Catholic Church is the only, or even the primary, bearer of that teaching. The Scriptures stand above the Church as the authority, not below. The Church Fathers are judged ultimately by Scripture, though great weight is given to their interpretations.
Seems that he misunderstood the relation of how we view Scripture to the Church. It’s strange because he seems to grasp pretty well the arguments that you set forth but then just says that he disagrees about Sacred Tradition with an appeal to “Protestant theology and epistemology.” The funny part is that what he disagrees with (Scripture standing above the Church) is not even what we believe, so we disagree with that as well.
He is declaring HIS belief that Scripture stands above the Church, not echoing the Church’s teaching. This is something he takes as a given, because, you know: Protestant. The logic error is glaring: How can Scripture stand over the Church that canonized it? And how can he toss those 1200 years or so between said canonization and the invention of “sola scriptura”?
I think he is going: I can have “Sola written *and* unwritten tradition” while still not needing “authority”. Chesterton says is well when he says the Church is not a collection of truths, but a truth telling thing. He is rejecting the need for the truth telling thing because he can recognize on his own the truth from non-truth amidst Christian Tradition.
Well, maybe Mark’s book will not convince all of his Protestant readers, immediately and miraculously, but once having read the book, let’s trust the Holy Spirit to continue working in this person’s mind and soul. The seed has been planted. Is that what you mean by “My work here is done”, Mark? That’s how I understand it, since a good deal of your work, and the work of all of us to a lesser extent since all of us are not necessarily writers, is to plant the seeds. We cannot know, or judge, the kind of soil on which the seeds are falling. This is the Lord’s part.
Would we prefer a person based his conversion on reading a bunch of books (which I fear is frequently the case) or on seeing the Church as she is, warts and all. Let’s just say, there are lots of warts. Is it a prince, or just a toad?