Thursday, April 07, 2011

"Another thing needful"

Carl Trueman explains the need for a "thoughtful, learned Protestant response" to post Vatican II Roman Catholicism, and why Evangelicalism has yet to provide one:

http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2011/04/another-thing-needful.php

21 comments:

John Bugay said...

We need a thoughtful, learned, respectful, confessional Protestant book on Roman Catholicism.

Matthew, I'm glad that Carl Trueman thinks this, but he's thinking too small. We don't just need a book; we need a library. We need an army of Evangelical scholars and bloggers looking at different aspects of church history, as well as across the spectrum of doctrines and theologies.

This is a huge world, (just the "world" of church history), and it's going to take a lot of effort to understand it adequately.

Ken said...

Carl Trueman wrote:
"Boettner is pre-Vatican II and so profoundly limited; Geisler is tendentious and, well, Geisler."

Interesting . . .

tendentious - online dictionary - ten·den·tious also ten·den·cious (tn-dnshs)
adj.
Marked by a strong implicit point of view; partisan: another entry includes the tendency to be "controversial".

I wonder if Trueman has read Dr. White's book, The Roman Catholic Controversy; or William Webster's The Church of Rome at the Bar of History or David King and Webster's Holy Scripture: the Ground and Pillar of Our Faith ? Or any of Eric Svendsen's books?

The beginnings of a "library"?

Ken said...

Also, Jason Engwer's articles at Triablogue and Turretinfan has a library of articles also at his blog; along with John's articles here are part of that library. Jame's Swan's corrections of all the spin put on Luther is a library in itself also.

If all of Dr. White's debates and articles were put into a book, that would be a massive book also.

And don't forget Matthison's work.

Ken said...

Another problem is what Roger Pearce of Tertullian Project (www.tertullian.org) told me by email a few years ago:

That only about 1/3 of Migne's Greek and Latin Patrology has been translated into English!

The standard Early Church Fathers sets that are at www.ccel.org and www.newadvent.org are only about 1/3 of the total output of Migne's total.

That is why King and Webster had to hire translators for some of the sources for some of their most important quotes in their 3 volume series.

That is an amazing thing, after all these centuries!

Ken said...

Thinking about this; and the Brazilian guy's question yesterday on my post, got me to go back over and notice 4 really good articles by James S. on justification and McGrath and Augustine and church history.

It was a good review this morning, re-reading these.

Soli Deo Gloria needs to combine all of these by James into a new chapter in its book, "Justification by Faith Alone: The Protestant Position" (Edited by Don Kistler, with chapters by Sproul, McArthur, Gertsner, Beeke, Armstrong) in the next edition. (IMO)

What James discusses and analyzes are the missing questions that come up in one's mind when studying this issue, that these books don't address; and that is perhaps one of the missing answers to what causes thinking Protestants to swim the Tiber and go to Rome, as Trueman points out. More needs to be done on this, justisfication in the early centuries, and the relationship to baptismal regeneration, Tertullian's stuff and the Latin on "merit" and sinning after baptism, church membership and church discipline, etc.- to provide a more thorough answer and response to articles like these at Called to Communion - http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2011/03/tradition-i-and-sola-fide-2/

James Swan's four excellent posts from 2006-2007 (good to pull them out again and re-read)

I hope R.N. from Brazil reads them all.

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2006/08/alister-mcgrath-on-augustine-and.html



http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2006/09/response-on-mcgraths-book-iustitia-dei.html

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2006/09/alleged-roman-catholic-tradition-on.html


http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2007/01/fr-alvin-kimel-pontificator-misses.html

Rhology said...

Seems to me that, as James S has said in private emails to us before, modern Romanism has been wrecked. There simply remains to pick up the tattered pieces here and there and to proclaim its defeat to those who haven't heard.

Maybe Dr Trueman is unaware? And I can understand how that could be - I've read numerous counter-Rome apologetics works and many of them are good but I'm sorry - rarely do they approach the level of argumentation that I see around here, at TurretinFan's blog, at Triablogue.
And then there's other things like Geisler. Even before Geisler turned into the Great Protector of Ergun Caner, I was disappointed with his work on Rome. Maybe someone in Dr Trueman's position is looking in the wrong places.

John Bugay said...

Hey Alan, I'd say "wrecked" is a relative term. We have investigated the modern RC church, and we know where all the skeletons are hidden.

But a bureaucracy has a life of its own, and religions seem to have that kind of life in them. Even religions based on such false understandings of reality as Mormonism and Islam are growing at tremendously fast rates, not because those religions haven't been "wrecked," but because people haven't heard about the wrecking.

By the way, Trueman has a more recent article than the one Matthew linked to, on the topic of "why people drift Romeward"; I'm more disappointed by that one, and I'm going to try to respond to it.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

As I understand it, the majority of the published responses to Roman Catholicism deal with its unofficial, provincial (English speaking) apologetics machine, rather than the scholarly output of the international, multi-cultural Magisterium. There is a usefulness in responding to these unofficial defenders of Rome inasmuch as Protestants find their arguments troubling, and, of course, the works by King, Webster, Svendsen, White, etc., have all been very effective in this area.

However, looked at from another direction, many of the arguments the unofficial defenders of Rome forward are egregious, and if it were not for some Protestants finding them troubling, there would be hardly any reason in engaging them at all. They are virtually worthless as intellectual and spiritual contributions to any discussion of the reasons one might choose Roman Catholicism over Evangelical Protestantism.

The issue Trueman is driving at is the lack of a volume (or several) directly and systematically dealing with the scholarly output of the official Magisterium. The Magisterium is where we are more likely to find scholars and theologians who have spent their lives studying the Scriptures and the early church (rather than the standard fare, lay apologists who can offer us an "experience" and their private, unlearned ruminations on all things Scriptural and historical), and so their work is worth engaging on its own merits. Not only can we learn something from such scholarship, but we can respond to the base of the tree, as it were, addressing the most influential part of Roman Catholicism; unlike whatever it is some hack American apologist or his team is offering us today, which is here today and gone tomorrow, the Magisterium sets the whole intellectual and spiritual course of Roman Catholicism.

kaycee said...

Hi Rho

I agree, the level of counter-Roman argumentation here is levels above the internet average.

I think that many so called "protestants" who swim across, have a surprisingly shallow understanding of the Gospel of Grace.

The ooh, aahh pageantry factor, the smells, the holy garb, the sights of an ancient church sways many as well. Not quite what God had in mind. Rom 10:17"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ."

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

If I'm not mistaken, Trueman is a Calvinist.

If "thoughtful" Protestants swim the Tiber, how much concern should a Calvininst have about this?

Constantine said...

Matthew writes:

The Magisterium is where we are more likely to find scholars and theologians who have spent their lives studying the Scriptures and the early church (rather than the standard fare, lay apologists who can offer us an "experience" and their private, unlearned ruminations on all things Scriptural and historical), and so their work is worth engaging on its own merits.

I must confess to a certain visceral reaction against Matthew's well intended advice because it approaches Rome with Geneva colored glasses.

The fact is, it seems to me, that the Magisterium has so badly censored both the teaching of its scholars and their output that one may look in vain for true scholarly works. (This is especially true in the Vatican I era which is not so far distant.) One may recall Dr. Garry Wills' complaint that the Magisterium, which set up the Pontifical Biblical Commission, forced seminarians to believe – and teach their parishioners – that Moses personally wrote the first five books of the Bible even though many events described therein occur after Moses's death! One may also recall the Magisterial stifling of John Courtney Murray whose work was only saved by his association with the JFK presidential campaign and Rome's sensitivity to not appear to discipline one who was supporting the first Catholic U.S. President. (I am amazed at how often Archbishop Chaput, of Denver, so regularly cites Murray as though he lived, unmolested, in the Pantheon of Rome's saints! I wonder if this isn't indicative of the current state of Magisterial “experience”?)

Given the age of the current members of the Magisterium, and the fact that they all came up under this type of regime, I wonder what would be gained in such a study. But maybe that is exactly what Dr. Trueman has in mind. Those scholars who have slipped the bonds of Vatican I – Brown, Kueng, Schatz, Wills, McBrien, et. al. - are not of the Magisterium so I am left wondering what “worth", really,could be had in such an effort – if any at all.

Peace.

Ken said...

One may recall Dr. Garry Wills' complaint that the Magisterium, which set up the Pontifical Biblical Commission, forced seminarians to believe – and teach their parishioners – that Moses personally wrote the first five books of the Bible even though many events described therein occur after Moses's death!

? - "many events" ? beyond Moses death? Joshua may have added that afterward, but I don't see "many events" of the Penteteuch occuring after Moses.

Willis wrote a book called "Papal Sins", and it was interesting. It has some interesting stuff on Newman, as I recall. But some of his complaining against the Pope is the same as Hans Kung - the issues of contraceptives, married priests, female ministers, ecumenical stuff; world peace, etc. He is dismissed because of those other liberal issues; when Protestants use his material against infallibility and Newman and doctrinal issues.

Steve Polson said...

Interesting article, he has a good point.

On a slightly tangential note, when people mention the "thoughtful evangelicals" converting to Rome all the time it occurs to me that while I understand why they don't like the shallowness that is often (not always!) found in evangelicalism rather than being driven to Rome why don't they take the time to read the "fathers and doctors" of the reformation, Calvin, Chemnitz, etc. They'll find nothing shallow there...

James Swan said...

I've always found the psychology of conversion interesting. People join various religious movements for a variety of reasons, and often they're not intellectual reasons (that is, looking at all the facts). Even with good counter books, people will still go Rome-ward or Orthodox-ward, or Mormon-ward, etc.

A few years back a bright gal named Stacey started hanging around here, on her way to Romanism. She was going Roman, there was no doubt. But, we did talk her into getting the King / Webster series. I don't recall all the details anymore, but somehow she wound up with volume 3 before 1 &2. She started accusing volume 3 of taking things out of context, or something like that. I don't know if she ever eventually read volume 1, which is indeed the best volume in the set. If I recall, she only looked at the quotes in volume 3, and that was it. Her heart was already made up, and no amount of factual data was going to stop her.

I haven't read Trueman's article yet. Yes, good resources are needed. But I wonder if the resources are more for protecting the flock, rather than changing a heart.

James Swan said...

OK, I skimmed through Trueman's article. From my quick reading, he appears to think Geisler & Boettner represent the main responses to Romanism for the "Evangelical."

If he defined "Evangelical" somewhere in his entry, I didn't read it close enough to find it.

There are plenty of good resources against Romanism. If he doesn't have them, that's his problem. I happen to have a great collection of sources spanning the centuries that refute Romanism.

Constantine said...

Hi Ken,

The “many events” are not necessarily found at the end of Deuteronomy.

For example, Genesis 14:4 refers to the city of Dan which did not receive its name until the time of the Judges. Likewise, Genesis 36:31 lists the kings “who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king reigned” showing knowledge of a future Israelite kingdom about which Moses can't have known. Genesis 47:11 refers to the Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses, who would only appear centuries later. And Numbers 12:3 – “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” – seems likely to not have been written by Moses unless one takes Moses to be the psychological twin of Narcissus! And, of course, Deuteronomy 34:8 ff could not have been written by Moses.

Beyond that, one may subscribe to the theory that the Pentateuch had four sources instead of one (the so-called JEDP theory). But Wills' point – and the one that seems to get at the nub of using “Magisterial” sources in regard to Dr. Trueman's complaint – is that these sources are so highly censored as to be rendered objectively unusable. But, as I mentioned earlier, maybe that would suffice for Trueman's purposes.

Perhaps “many events” was a sloppy usage on my part and I hope you will pardon it.

Peace.

natamllc said...

James,

what puzzles me most about a sentence that goes like this one above, by you:

"... People join various religious movements for a variety of reasons, ...".

... is the fact that no one "joins" the Church. One has to be added to Her. Also, no one has ever loved God first, except for maybe Adam and Eve. And their natural love would be weak love at that under the circumstances all of us find ourselves in battling our own flesh because of the failings of those first parents! My flesh, after these many years is still as wretched as the day I came into this fallen world. Also, it is God's love for Christ that is the acceptable love coming from us to one another that God accepts, right?

It is God, Who, through His great mercy, causes us to be born again and "conjoined" to Christ. We have been called to His Eternal Glory in Christ.

It is an amazing "end" to an amazing "prayer" found at John 17 that goes like this:

ESV
Joh 17:25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.
Joh 17:26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."



I, too, am persuaded that God's Hand must be involved in a soul's election and calling. No one chooses Christ. No one knows the Father except by Christ or has access to Him but through Christ. And no one loves God first!

1Jn 4:10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

It seems once we are now Christ's this is what follows:

Php 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Php 3:21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.


So, in conclusion, comments directed towards the title of this article, "Another thing needful", when it comes to one being drawn away from their place as a member of the True Church, wouldn't it be a fair admonition to continually pray for them as the Apostle Paul teaches us, here:

Eph 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

James Swan said...

James,

what puzzles me most about a sentence that goes like this one above, by you:"... People join various religious movements for a variety of reasons, ...".... is the fact that no one "joins" the Church. One has to be added to Her.


Please don't nit-pick me. I wasn't talking about God's effectual call calling His own unto himself. Notice I used the phrase "various religious movements."

natamllc said...

James,

yes, I agree.

I apologize if you felt I was nick picking.

PeaceByJesus said...

This Traditional Catholic (long) article
shows how confusing the sure guide of Rome magisterium can be, in its indictment of V2's liberalism w/ interesting quotes.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Thanks, PBJ. That should serve as an interesting read.