Joel clarified one of my points

Regarding my list of reasons I cannot be Roman Catholic (mixing up reasons for not, a lack of sufficiency in reasons to, etc), I need to thank a blogger for bringing to the front an important issue.

While Mark’s honesty will offend many who justify idolatry by appealing to John of Damascus, we have an opposite example in the Internet Monk’s interview with Bryan Cross, someone who has made that plunge into idolatry. I don’t know why these issues are never raised in these ecumenical interviews. Many Protestants still seem to assume that justification is the core issue between us and Rome, while in fact idolatry is and always has been one of the central concerns of the Reformation, if one that is often ignored today.

I don’t know Bryan and haven’t read the interview so I haven’t confirmed what Joel says about it in particular.  But if, as Bryan says he wants, we are to have dialogue, Joel is absolutely right that we need to get real about what separates us and stop exalting the formulas of justification as the main reason we are divided.  Scott Hahn (if we take his own autobiography at face value and don’t question it) did not jettison the Protestant Faith when he came to a new opinion about justification.  It was clear in the presentation I heard that he made the switch when he started praying to Mary on the blind trust that the RCs must have a good and morally sufficient reason for doing so even though he didn’t know what it was.

Many of the things on the list are obviously related to teaching on justification (i.e. purgatory, praying to saints, effects of relics, etc).  But just as obviously they could all be rationalized (and have been, according to what Calvin wrote about Regensburg) even if any errors in the doctrinal formulation were corrected. And they would still be just as bad as they were before.

PS: this means, by the way, that some who think they or their organization or writings are at the forefront of defending Protestants from the claims of Roman Catholicism may be leaving them vulnerable.  My anecdotal experience as a pastor (which is as much as I can say about it) corresponds to this possibility.

3 thoughts on “Joel clarified one of my points

  1. Bryan Cross

    Yeah Mark, I guess I must have blended into the wall for four years. Maybe I need to start wearing more colorful clothing or grow a beard or get tattoos or something. 🙂

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  2. mark Post author

    Yes, we did. And I occasionally remember that. But I didn’t and don’t know you from that time. Sorry if this reflects badly on me. I knew Lloyd because he tolerated my anti-Clarkianism with a great deal of Christian charity.


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