Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A Pope any Baptist can love

Via Southern Appeal, an essay in Touchstone worth reading.
Having been reared as a Southern Baptist I can tell you that today's Baptist Church is not your grandaddy's Baptist Church. I was spoon-fed so much anti-Catholocism (along with a lot of other stuff) that the fist time I saw an Episcopal service I felt like I was doing something wrong by even being in the building. Thankfully, I got over it.

The legacy of John Paul II is spreading across the Kingdom in a way that no one would have predicted twenty or thirty years ago. This article illustrates the point.

The pope is interested in saving souls, and he understands that bad philosophy, if not challenged by good philosophy, will make the church’s mission of soul-saving more difficult. Although he notes that there is no one correct Christian philosophy, there are limits to the extent to which a philosophy can be employed to illuminate Christian truth.
[...]
Consider, for example, the recent challenges on the classical attributes of God: that he is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, immutable, incorporeal, and personal. Over the past several decades proponents of Open Theism (who deny that God knows the future and is immutable) and Mormonism (who deny all the classical attributes except “personal”) have challenged some of them.

Their reasoning is, not surprisingly, “biblical.” They read the text and they see, for instance, that God has regrets (Genesis 6:6), is corporeal (Deuteronomy 34:10), and is sometimes surprised (Jeremiah 32:35). So they conclude that classical theism (or some variation of it) is wrong about God because it is the result of reading the Bible encumbered by “pagan” philosophy.

Many of the Evangelicals who rightly oppose Open Theism and Mormonism respond in kind. They too cite Scripture, also claiming to do so untouched by philosophical analysis. They offer their own collection of proof-texts that they are convinced clearly show that God does know the future, is unchanging, does not have a body, and so forth.

Each side presents to the other its own collection of biblical passages, both claiming to do so by purely reading the text.

Although these traditionalists see themselves as upholding the creeds of Christendom (and that is, of course, a good thing), they rarely consult the Fathers or the Great Doctors of the Church and avail themselves of the reasoning that gave rise to the creeds they seek to protect. Their opponents do investigate their ecclesiastical patrimony, but not as teachable students willing to grant a strong presumption to the wisdom of this tradition and its formation. Their approach is like that of a criminal prosecutor seeking to find Mafia corruption in the business dealings of a corporation.

It seems odd to say this, but we must remember that our predecessors read the same Bible that we read, and they confronted the same apparently disparate accounts of God’s actions and nature that we find in Scripture. Why, then, did they develop the view of God that they did?

No way to summarize the article. You have to read it to see where this goes.
It's not as entertaining as my last reference, but it's probably more important.

1 comment:

Francis J. Beckwith said...

Thanks for the citation, and kind words. By the way, my wife and I attend Dayspring Baptist in Waco, Texas, which is a Baptist church that a Catholic could love. :-)

Frank