Egopapism

Egopapism July 24, 2012

Francis Beckwith discusses the indignation in some circles about catechists in the Roman Catholic Church being required to, you know, agree with the doctrines that they are supposed to be teaching.  In doing so, he employs a useful new word:  egopapism.  I define this as the belief that you yourself are your own infallible religious authority.

 

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  • Michael B.

    “you yourself are your own infallible religious authority” — But if you live in a free country, this is true. You can claim that this or that church has authority over you, but that power derives from your consent. And at any time you can just leave the church. You pick your own religious authority.

    Also, how does this address the problem of “file cabinet orthodoxy”? By that I mean an institution where there is a very conservative creed on this books, but people do as they please. Let me give 1 example. Officially, the Catholic church is pro-life. But the majority of Catholics in 2008 voted for Obama.

  • Michael B.

    “you yourself are your own infallible religious authority” — But if you live in a free country, this is true. You can claim that this or that church has authority over you, but that power derives from your consent. And at any time you can just leave the church. You pick your own religious authority.

    Also, how does this address the problem of “file cabinet orthodoxy”? By that I mean an institution where there is a very conservative creed on this books, but people do as they please. Let me give 1 example. Officially, the Catholic church is pro-life. But the majority of Catholics in 2008 voted for Obama.

  • Carl Vehse

    Making the Romanist catechists sign a contract? That’s old news.

    The Vatican’s Holy Office of the Inquisition, under Grand Inquisitor Tarkin, has developed a new station plan to deal with these rebellious catechists.

  • Carl Vehse

    Making the Romanist catechists sign a contract? That’s old news.

    The Vatican’s Holy Office of the Inquisition, under Grand Inquisitor Tarkin, has developed a new station plan to deal with these rebellious catechists.

  • #4 Kitty

    You can claim that this or that church has authority over you, but that power derives from your consent.

    Right on. And by what authority does one give this consent? Well, by one’s own authority of course. And what of the world’s countless and disparate religious authorities~ all claiming infallibility, which one do YOU choose as the one from which you’ll receive catechism? And how does one choose without being an “egopapist”?

  • #4 Kitty

    You can claim that this or that church has authority over you, but that power derives from your consent.

    Right on. And by what authority does one give this consent? Well, by one’s own authority of course. And what of the world’s countless and disparate religious authorities~ all claiming infallibility, which one do YOU choose as the one from which you’ll receive catechism? And how does one choose without being an “egopapist”?

  • Well it’s sort of apples and oranges to compare Rome to the Protestant church insofar as that the pope is an unbiblical office and that the gospel is corrupted, among other things.

    That being said, Protestants have been dealing with this as well, expressing hostility to doctrinal beliefs in their denomination and demanding the denomination concede to their demands rather than leaving the denomination. I’d call it “egoProtestantism”

  • Well it’s sort of apples and oranges to compare Rome to the Protestant church insofar as that the pope is an unbiblical office and that the gospel is corrupted, among other things.

    That being said, Protestants have been dealing with this as well, expressing hostility to doctrinal beliefs in their denomination and demanding the denomination concede to their demands rather than leaving the denomination. I’d call it “egoProtestantism”

  • Most protestants avoid the problem of catechists having to believe what they teach by just not having a catechism. Or even any formal creeds.

  • Most protestants avoid the problem of catechists having to believe what they teach by just not having a catechism. Or even any formal creeds.

  • Stephen K

    Egopapism hum
    Chuch Smith
    John MacArthur
    John Piper
    Mark Dipskull
    Rick Warren
    Rob Bell
    and 87% of the popes

  • Stephen K

    Egopapism hum
    Chuch Smith
    John MacArthur
    John Piper
    Mark Dipskull
    Rick Warren
    Rob Bell
    and 87% of the popes

  • formerly just steve

    Michael and Kitty miss the point, I think. The point of the so-called “egopapism” is not whether we have the choice of adhering to this or that religious group but whether said religious group has the right to require you agree with it’s teachings before you can claim membership. More to the point, I guess, is that the egopapists would say not.

    I think it’s completely appropriate for a group, religious or otherwise, to dictate the terms of membership. What I find objectionable is people who join such groups with open eyes and fully aware that they are not in full agreement and then proceed to try to change the tenets of the group.

  • formerly just steve

    Michael and Kitty miss the point, I think. The point of the so-called “egopapism” is not whether we have the choice of adhering to this or that religious group but whether said religious group has the right to require you agree with it’s teachings before you can claim membership. More to the point, I guess, is that the egopapists would say not.

    I think it’s completely appropriate for a group, religious or otherwise, to dictate the terms of membership. What I find objectionable is people who join such groups with open eyes and fully aware that they are not in full agreement and then proceed to try to change the tenets of the group.

  • formerly just steve

    Stephen K, I’m dying to know the 13%.

  • formerly just steve

    Stephen K, I’m dying to know the 13%.

  • Stephen K

    One of those Gregories 🙂

  • Stephen K

    One of those Gregories 🙂

  • Steve Billingsley

    formerly just steve,

    Bingo! To me the term really doesn’t apply to people who make choices and decisions regarding what they believe doctrinally. We all do that to some degree. It is the person who claims membership in loyalty to a group while undermining the beliefs as a leader of that group that is truly objectionable. I am certain that most of us would have no problems with a member of our church who is not in a leadership position or without teaching authority admitting that there were specific doctrines that they just weren’t sure about. Particularly if that admission was done in a spirit of humility and understanding that sometimes doubts and struggles are just part of our faith.

  • Steve Billingsley

    formerly just steve,

    Bingo! To me the term really doesn’t apply to people who make choices and decisions regarding what they believe doctrinally. We all do that to some degree. It is the person who claims membership in loyalty to a group while undermining the beliefs as a leader of that group that is truly objectionable. I am certain that most of us would have no problems with a member of our church who is not in a leadership position or without teaching authority admitting that there were specific doctrines that they just weren’t sure about. Particularly if that admission was done in a spirit of humility and understanding that sometimes doubts and struggles are just part of our faith.

  • sg

    What I find objectionable is people who join such groups with open eyes and fully aware that they are not in full agreement and then proceed to try to change the tenets of the group.

    Yeah, I was just talking to someone who said a guy they knew was on a committee. Then he got voted off by confessionals. So he left the LCMS. In other words he was never Lutheran. He wanted to sit on a committee to change stuff and when people didn’t agree and voted to end his influence, he left. If you have kids aged about 11 and up, be sure to point these things out to them and explain that older doesn’t equal better. I tell my son all the time that he personally has a responsibility to participate and try to occupy a seat for the express purpose of making sure that unfaithful people are not sitting in those seats of influence. Better to have a 20 year old confessional on a board than a 50 year old liberal.

  • sg

    What I find objectionable is people who join such groups with open eyes and fully aware that they are not in full agreement and then proceed to try to change the tenets of the group.

    Yeah, I was just talking to someone who said a guy they knew was on a committee. Then he got voted off by confessionals. So he left the LCMS. In other words he was never Lutheran. He wanted to sit on a committee to change stuff and when people didn’t agree and voted to end his influence, he left. If you have kids aged about 11 and up, be sure to point these things out to them and explain that older doesn’t equal better. I tell my son all the time that he personally has a responsibility to participate and try to occupy a seat for the express purpose of making sure that unfaithful people are not sitting in those seats of influence. Better to have a 20 year old confessional on a board than a 50 year old liberal.

  • David M

    What’s funny is that this is a problem even in non-confessional churches. There are always people who want to belong to the chruch without having to submit to the authority of it. That being said, I don’t like the term because the “ego” may imply non-confessional Christians are that way because of pride. Also, Protestants aren’t Papists, so it has another problem there. Keep it in the Roman Church context, and it may be ok (you’ll have to ask them). But in the Protestant camp, it’s a little harsh, and inaccurate in some cases. But oddly enough, it’s a concept for which a term does need to be coined for our side of the aisle.

    I think something like “sola meus cordis” might work, in that it’s the last sola of the Reformation, beause it’s the sola that will end the Reformation.

  • David M

    What’s funny is that this is a problem even in non-confessional churches. There are always people who want to belong to the chruch without having to submit to the authority of it. That being said, I don’t like the term because the “ego” may imply non-confessional Christians are that way because of pride. Also, Protestants aren’t Papists, so it has another problem there. Keep it in the Roman Church context, and it may be ok (you’ll have to ask them). But in the Protestant camp, it’s a little harsh, and inaccurate in some cases. But oddly enough, it’s a concept for which a term does need to be coined for our side of the aisle.

    I think something like “sola meus cordis” might work, in that it’s the last sola of the Reformation, beause it’s the sola that will end the Reformation.

  • George A. Marquart

    Egopapism – it’s an intriguing word. But the article from which it is taken is a typical reflection of Roman Catholic thought and authoritarianism.

    First, the idea of having to sign confessions of faith. Why? It looks like a bureaucrats dream to solve all problems with a document. But it is not all that strange for Roman Catholics, many of whom visualize the Kingdom of God as life in a small Italian village. There is a constant stream of petitioners going to various offices asking for favors. Most petitioners also ask influential friends to intercede for them behind the scene. Score is kept about who owes whom, for later use. Bribes are not unheard of. Documents and edicts are issued from time to time, which have various degrees of applicability, depending on your status in society.

    Then, well disguised, is the concept of the church’s infallibility. Did you get that? “There was, of course, nothing wrong with Vatican II; its deliverances were a natural development of prior Church teachings.” Well, if there is any doubt about that, a signed document will solve the problem.

    We Lutherans know that there are many errors in the various Roman Catholic Catechisms. If professing Roman Catholics ever want to find their way to the truth, they will not get any help from their church – on the contrary, they will do all in their power to prevent that. Isn’t egopapism a necessity in such a situation?

    The Roman Catholic writer of the article cites some interesting analogies from life outside of the Roman Catholic Church. This reminds me how I learned growing up in a large Russian Orthodox family that when the priest, in a theological argument, said, “It is as if …”, everything that followed was not to be trusted. It’s the same in this case: if there were no difference in epistemology between the world and the Kingdom of God, then these analogies might be valid. But how do you deal with what the prophet Jeremiah has to say, (Jeremiha 31:34). “No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord …”?

    We Lutherans do a kind of a dance around this question: egopapism is a God given gift and right, in conformity with Scripture, if it results in agreement with the Confessions. But very, very unacceptable if it does not.

    In this particular case, would it not be more appropriate for the powers that be to interview each candidate for an instructor’s position to make sure that they agree with the position of the Roman Catholic Church, rather than going the bureaucratic route and getting a signed document without being that concerned about what the instructor is really thinking? By the way, anyone who has ever seen a Roman Catholic catechism will have to be astounded that there are 5,000 people in one diocese who are qualified to teach it. Maybe the signed document is a way to justify the unlikely?

    The way of the Kingdom is not always easier, but it is what the Lord would have us do.

    Are egopapists entitled to use the papemobile?

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Egopapism – it’s an intriguing word. But the article from which it is taken is a typical reflection of Roman Catholic thought and authoritarianism.

    First, the idea of having to sign confessions of faith. Why? It looks like a bureaucrats dream to solve all problems with a document. But it is not all that strange for Roman Catholics, many of whom visualize the Kingdom of God as life in a small Italian village. There is a constant stream of petitioners going to various offices asking for favors. Most petitioners also ask influential friends to intercede for them behind the scene. Score is kept about who owes whom, for later use. Bribes are not unheard of. Documents and edicts are issued from time to time, which have various degrees of applicability, depending on your status in society.

    Then, well disguised, is the concept of the church’s infallibility. Did you get that? “There was, of course, nothing wrong with Vatican II; its deliverances were a natural development of prior Church teachings.” Well, if there is any doubt about that, a signed document will solve the problem.

    We Lutherans know that there are many errors in the various Roman Catholic Catechisms. If professing Roman Catholics ever want to find their way to the truth, they will not get any help from their church – on the contrary, they will do all in their power to prevent that. Isn’t egopapism a necessity in such a situation?

    The Roman Catholic writer of the article cites some interesting analogies from life outside of the Roman Catholic Church. This reminds me how I learned growing up in a large Russian Orthodox family that when the priest, in a theological argument, said, “It is as if …”, everything that followed was not to be trusted. It’s the same in this case: if there were no difference in epistemology between the world and the Kingdom of God, then these analogies might be valid. But how do you deal with what the prophet Jeremiah has to say, (Jeremiha 31:34). “No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord …”?

    We Lutherans do a kind of a dance around this question: egopapism is a God given gift and right, in conformity with Scripture, if it results in agreement with the Confessions. But very, very unacceptable if it does not.

    In this particular case, would it not be more appropriate for the powers that be to interview each candidate for an instructor’s position to make sure that they agree with the position of the Roman Catholic Church, rather than going the bureaucratic route and getting a signed document without being that concerned about what the instructor is really thinking? By the way, anyone who has ever seen a Roman Catholic catechism will have to be astounded that there are 5,000 people in one diocese who are qualified to teach it. Maybe the signed document is a way to justify the unlikely?

    The way of the Kingdom is not always easier, but it is what the Lord would have us do.

    Are egopapists entitled to use the papemobile?

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart