Mr. Bugay said, "Around and around they go. As you say, it's a blueprint for anarchy."
So sorry to disagree but actually this more reflects protestantism...since no interpretative authority is higher than anybody else's....a relativist mentality erupted- hodgepodge soup it is.
Lets put this into action:
Martin Luther, “There are almost as many sects and beliefs as there are heads; this one will not admit Baptism; that one rejects the Sacrament of the altar; another places another world between the present one and the day of judgment; some teach that Jesus Christ is not God. There is not an individual, however clownish he may be, who does not claim to be inspired by the Holy Ghost, and who does not put forth as prophecies his ravings and dreams.”
The headline news today in the Christian world is very sad, “Last week, another once-big church succumbed to the relentless, media-savvy campaign of determined secular forces...leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America voted to lift the ban that prohibited sexually active gay and lesbian people from serving as ministers and the blessing of the same-sex couples. Lutherans and Episcopalians join other denominational giants, Unitarians and Presbyterians aside from many independent ..."
If some evangelical pastors say that there is no biblical prerogative against embryonic stem-cell or some pastors say that gay relationship and sex (not the people with homosexual tendencies) have anything against the teaching of the Book? In fact they say that the same Jesus accepted all people regardless of their actions. To them God is all tolerance and loving.
There is a reliable survey that the younger generation of evangelical christians are more prone to liberal interpretation of the Bible.... that in the near future maybe it's ok to have same-sex marriage and "cure" our old age illness' through the destruction of other humans by stem-cell....hopefully God will not allow that to happen.
Some pastors agree with this and some don't BUT ALL have claimed they got it right with the Holy Writ and guided by the Holy Spirit.
How about Artificial Contraception prior to 1930's? Did you know that ALL Christian Churches believed and agreed that it is intrinsically evil, unnatural and thus contrary to the Will of God? What happened to your truth since then? Catholic Teaching still stands today ( Humanae Vitae) that if any christian catholic committed acts of Arti-Contraception is quity of a grave sin.
Now let's see your founding fathers take on this issue:
Examining sermons and commentaries, Charles Provan identified over a hundred Protestant leaders (Lutheran, Calvinist, Reformed, Methodist, Presbyterian, Anglican, Evangelical, Nonconformist, Baptist, Puritan, Pilgrim) living before the twentieth century condemning non-procreative sex. Did he find the opposing argument was also represented? Mr. Provan stated, "We will go one better, and state that we have found not one orthodox theologian to defend Birth Control before the 1900's. NOT ONE! On the other hand, we have found that many highly regarded Protestant theologians were enthusiastically opposed to it."
So what happened?
It's the old story of Christians attempting to conform the world to Christ and the world attempting to conform Christians to its ways. Protestants fought bravely, but in 1930 the first hole appeared in the contraception dike (in the Anglican Church) and lead to a flood that would engulf the other Protestant Churches, too. In the next thirty years all Protestant churches were swept away from their historic views on contraception. The most terrible point is that just a few years earlier, in 1908, the Anglican Church condemned the very contraception that they would later embrace.
These words were from your "fathers", so what is your take? So why should a christian believe in any words or interpretation from you? if you could err at all therefore it follows you could also err in any point! There is NO quarantee to any of your truth and YOU WILL BE LIABLE to God for leading others over the edge.
Jae's comments suffer from a series of problems:
i) All Jae has done is paint a picture of doctrinal chaos on modern, ethical controversies. Yet that hardly establishes his conclusion, that Protestantism is "a relativist mentality erupted- hodgepodge soup" and that "There is NO quarantee to any of your truth." It's not obvious how the mere presence of disagreement entails his conclusion.
ii) Consider this kind of epistemology applied to life as whole. People disagree over how to interpret everything from casual comments to government constitutions, basic sensory information to data from molecular-level lab experiments. When you encounter these disagreements in everyday life, does that lead you to say that there is no guarantee at all to any truth in your life whatsoever? No, we keep living and acting like we can come to reasonably strong, sometimes even certain, conclusions about a whole variety of matters. Would Jae say this intuitive response to disagreement is wrong? If so, is Jae prepared to apply his skeptical reasoning to other fields of knowledge as well?
To narrow the field, Christians in the early church disagreed over what Scripture teaches on the atonement. For example, the Ransom Theory was popular for perhaps even 1,000 years. Yet Jae, a Roman Catholic, would consider these early Christians part of his denomination. If internal disagreements between early generations of Protestants and their modern counter-parts over one theological issue render them unable to be confident in their interpretations of Scripture, the same would apply to internal disagreements between generations of early Catholics and their modern counter-parts.
iii) Presumably Jae is setting the stage for Rome's grand entrance--instead of blindly groping around in the the doctrinal chaos that is Protestantism, turn to the Magisterium of Roman Catholicism and achieve theological and interpretive certainty! However:
a) There's theological disagreement as to the proper interpretation of standard Catholic proof-texts used to prove the authority of the Roman Catholic denomination (e.g. Matthew 16:18, 1 Timothy 3:15). Presumably this theological disagreement would render any appeal to these passages fruitless. But if we can't be sure of our interpretation of these passages of Scripture, how can Catholics use Scripture to prove the authority of Catholicism to Protestants? It seems like any Scriptural case Jae would make for the authority of the Magisterium will not even be able to get off the ground.
b) There's no obvious difference between disagreement over interpreting the documents of Scripture over interpreting the documents produced from a body like the Magisterium.
c) Apropos, Catholics disagree with Catholics over how to interpret various official Catholic documents, including Scripture. For example, at Beggars All we are regularly treated by lay-Catholic apologists to dismissals of the work of Catholic scholars (who sometimes even teach at Catholic universities and have been appointed to the Magisterium as Cardinals and/or to various Pontifical Councils governed by the Magisterium). If lay-Catholic apologists disagree with Magisterium approved Catholic scholars on theological issues, how can any Catholic be sure he has properly interpreted the Magisterium himself?
The traditional fall-back is that the Magisterium corrects itself. But often clarifications of doctrine are disagreed upon as well. Consider Pope Benedict XVI's remarks on postconciliar eras of church history:
Perhaps I would like to begin with a historical observation. A postconciliar period is almost always very difficult. The important Council of Nicaea -- which for us really is the foundation of our faith, in fact, we confess the faith formulated as Nicaea -- did not lead to a situation of reconciliation and unity as Constantine, who organized this great Council, had hoped. It was followed instead by a truly chaotic situation of in-fighting.Benedict then goes on to describe how these postconciliar observations apply to the post-Vatican II landscape as well.
In his book on the Holy Spirit, St. Basil compares the situation of the Church subsequent to the Council of Nicea to a naval battle at night in which no one recognizes the other but everyone fights everyone else. It really was a situation of total chaos: Thus, St. Basil painted in strong colors the drama of the postconciliar period, the aftermath of Nicaea.
Fifty years later, for the First council of Constantinople, the Emperor invited St. Gregory of Nazianzus to take part in the Council. St. Gregory answered: "No. I will not come because I know these things, I know that all Councils produce nothing but confusion and fighting so I shall not be coming." And he did not go.1
So if we consistently apply Jae's arguments to the Pope's understanding of postconciliar situations we arrive at the unpleasant conclusion that we really can have no guarantee that we've rightly understood Catholic councils--the very councils that are meant to correct and explain and delineate the faith in times of disagreement. As Jae lays the groundwork for the Magisterium to be the happy alternative to the mire of Protestant division, he unwittingly forgets the interpretive divisions within his own denomination, creating an argument that defeats his own position.
The reality is that Protestants are in the same epistemic position as Catholics--we both have to deal with theological division over interpretations of our infallible documents. Pushing the interpretation of Scripture onto a supposedly infallible body does nothing but push the fundamental problem of interpretation onto another set of documents and words (encapsulated as they are in Catholicism in the CCC, ecumenical councils, Papal encyclicals, etc.). All of the doubt Jae has cultivated about interpretation is equally applicable to his own position.
iv) It's instructive to see how Catholics apprehend the same relativistic arguments atheists use to attack Christianity, yet fail to apply those arguments in any consistent matter; it's as if they forget that the intended target of these kinds of arguments is Christianity in general, not just Protestantism. How do Catholics deal with atheists on this point? As far as I can tell, they don't, and it's the kind of intellectual double-standard that gives you a feel for the current state of Catholic apologetics.
1. Pope Benedict XVI, Questions and Answers (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2008), 158.