Thursday, February 12, 2004
The HokiePundit Confession is on my computer. However, as the internet and my computer are currently having a hatefest, it's probably going to stay there for a few more days, at least. I think it's pretty good, though a few rounds of editing would surely make it better (no, I'm not going to do those before posting it). As I looked over it, I realized that I'd more-or-less lifted entire thoughts straight out of the Council of Trent, which is actually, I think, a good sign. For all the cavilling of some Protestants I know, the parts of the Council of Trent that actually address doctrine (rather than the 2/3 that address rescheduling the council) are extremely good. Seemingly, for any objection you could find to a doctrine, they've thought it out and addressed it. While I don't agree with all their defenses, it's amazing to me how very careful to clarify any possible misconceptions. Of course, some things they address were surely objections floating around at the time, but it's still impressive. One thing that really gets me, though, is how they specifically address common misconceptions, such as the idea that Roman Catholics believe in Salvation by works, and yet detractors still say the RCs believe it and have no defense against the charge. The more I consider things, the more I'm convinced that Roman Catholics and Protestants are talking past each other (I, of course, am targetted by both sides). I don't think Free Will and Predestination necessarily contradict each other, nor do the ideas that faith alone saves and that good works are necessary to Salvation. It's as though one group accuses the other of wearing a wig, and the other argues against this by saying that their favorite color is blue. Protestants think of Catholics (not necessarily Roman) of being arrogant and misinterpreting doctrine, while Catholics accuse Protestants (not necessarily Evangelicals or Fundamentalists) of making things up as they go. Both have a bit of a point, but neither is understanding how the other works. Protestants are far more explicit in their beliefs. It's extremely rare to ever hear a Catholic saying things like "the Spirit is leading me to ____" or "I'm feeling called to become a prayer warrior and increase my quiet time." They also sometimes have a tendency to pray along the lines of "Father God, I pray that you, Father God, would cure my sister Jane, Father God, of the flu she's been having this past week, Father God, so she can do well on her finals, Father God." Catholics are far more implicit, even to the point of sometimes failing to mention God. Let's take the statement "I decided to change jobs." An Evangelical would hear that as "I, acting on my own impulses and not consulting God, was dissatisfied with my old job and decided to leave." He would instead say "I prayed about it for a long time, and felt the Spirit calling me to move to another vocation." Catholics would hear it as "I decided to change jobs [because I was dissatisfied with my old job, quite possibly because I felt I was betraying my Christian faith or wasn't getting to spend enough time with God]." If the Catholic had heard the Evangelical statement about the job I mentioned earlier, they would think that the person was very insecure and possibly a hypocrite. It's these misunderstandings that cause much of the animosity out there.
Also, just because I like provoking people, here's a thought:
The Pope claims to be the spiritual descendant of Peter. Peter was rebuked by Paul in the Epistle to the Galatians. Why is it that the Pope claims to be able to make infallible statements, which presumably cannot be rebuked? Was Paul's rebuke of Peter a one time thing, not to be transferred to any spiritual descendants of Paul (such as missionaries)? If so, why?