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Location: Montgomery Area, Alabama, United States

Former BUFF driver; self-styled military historian; paid (a lot) to write about beating plowshares into swords; NOT Foamy the Squirrel, contrary to all appearances. Wesleyan Jihadi Name: Sibling Railgun of Reasoned Discourse

Friday, June 10, 2005

For Who Hath Known the Mind of the Lord that We May Instruct Him?

I welcome the comments of Joe from Deo Omnis Gloria, whose excellent post on this week's Christian Carnival I responded to yesterday (check that last link out to see what he's writing about):

1) Liberation Theology - although promulgated by several South and Central America bishops, has never been professed as an "alternative" for Catholic believers by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. So again, it is a relativisitic teaching of "individuals" but not of the teaching authority of the Catholic Church.
2) The working of the Holy Spirit in each Christian does not rule out the "exclusive" nature of authoritative interpretation that has been given to those who have succeeded the Apostles (i.e. the Pope and those bishops in union with him) as manifested in Matt 16:19. So I, as a believer, can correctly understand and interpret what Sacred Scripture is saying, BUT as soon as that "personal" interpretation fails to be in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church, the Church given the authority to "bind and loose," then I can rest assured that "I" am mistaken. A truth of the Catholic faith that Luther and the other Reformers blatantly missed.
3) Denominationalism and the Catholic Church - Dispite the half-hearted reaction of certain Catholic bishops to the election of Pope Benedict XVI, they have not separated themselves from the Catholic Church, in any way, shape, or form other than a "personal" preference.
4) Sects and Catholicism - Do you really understand what Mormons believe? Mormonism's theological beliefs could hardly be mistaken for the fundamental beliefs of Catholicism. But let me make my point once more....these sects are a direct result of the relativism that exists within the Protestant ideal. The founders of all these sects were Protestants who sincerely believed that they were interpreting Sacred Scripture correctly and that God was directly calling them to found their "individual" churches.
5) "Right work" - Let's look at one topic - Baptism. There are as many varieties of teachings on the purpose and administration of Baptism as there are denominations! Is there a "true" teaching on Baptism, an "absolute" teaching on Baptism? Or is each way a "right work" as you would call it?
6) "Western" and "Eastern" churches - Neither the Roman Catholic Church nor the Greek Orthodox Church denies the other's claim to apostolic succession, in fact the opposite is true. The Catholic Church "fully" recognizes the apostolic succession of the Greek Orthodox Church, that is why the Catholic Church teaches that their sacraments are "fully" valid.
7) Division vs. Denominationalism - look for an article on this topic this weekend on I will say this there is a "distinct" difference between the two.

In Christ,

Good words, brother. I agree with much that you say, but do take issue with your characterization of relativism as the central motivation of Protestantism. Still, I hesitate to debate doctrine with you. If you really want to, I'll roll up my sleeves and get to it, but corespondent Veep's very appropriate comment pulls me back:

"We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:

No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those
who love him

but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually descerned. The spiritual man makes judgements about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgement:

For who has known the mind of the
Lord that he may instruct him?
But we have the mind of Christ"

-1 Corinthians 2:6-16

In HIS Love,

Several related verses come to mind, too:

"Everything is lawful," but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is lawful," but not everything builds up.
1 Cor 10:23


Let us then pursue what leads to peace and to building up one another.
Rom 14:19

Reasonable people can disagree about specifics of doctrine, but--I, at least, believe--we do no credit to the deep things of God and we do not edify others if we argue amongst ourselves concerning those specifics, especially in the face of manifest challenges to the entire Visible Body of Christ--Catholic and Protestant alike. Relativism is a challenge to the entire visible church and is not a problem unique to any denomination. I admire much of what the Catholic episcopate is doing to counter it, but it's also being fought within mainstream Protestantism, as I am experiencing first-hand. Continue the good fight from your end and we will move ahead together.

(Incidentally, Joe, I share your love of Tolkien.)


PS: In do understand what Mormons teach (have been a target of intended conversion and have had several good Mormon friends) and, whatever it may be, it ain't Christianity. I meant no knock against the Catholic Church--it's just ironic (as I believe I said) that the group chose an organizational structure something like that of the Catholic Church. Mormon doctrine has nothing to do with the genuinely Christian doctrine taught as Catholicism, even if--as a sola scriptura sort of Protestant--I believe the latter to be somewhat adulterated. If it looked like I was trying to imply an equivalence between Catholic and Mormon theology, I apologize--that was not my intention.

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