Justin Taylor posted an interesting link on Saturday, April 28. It is called "On Evangelical (s) Swimming the Tiber".
Listen here: There are three lectures with some questions and answers in between sessions. They are all in one file at Chris Castaldo's blog.
1. Dr. Gregg Allison – The Roman Road, or the Road to Rome? Why Some Protestants Drift to Catholicism.
2. Rev. Chris Castaldo - Crossing the Tiber: Why Catholics and Protestants Convert.
3. Dr. Craig Blaising – Does Accepting the Canon of Scripture Implicitly Affirm Rome’s Authority?
4. Dr. Robert Plummer – Moderator of question and answer sessions in between lectures.
Dr. Gregg Allison has a very good analysis of why some Protestants convert to the Roman Catholic Church. Dr. Allison has an interesting book on historical theology. It is on my book list to get soon.
Dr. Allison talks about Evangelical Protestants who convert to the Roman Catholic Church did so out of a shallow experience in an Evangelical Protestant church that caused a dis-satisfaction with their church and then they went on a "Quest for Transcendence" ( In other words, "Mystery" ?)
That quest for transcendence is expressed in four ways:
a. Desire for Certainty - certainty over what is the right interpretation among all the different interpretations in the Protestant camp.
b. Desire for Connectivity to the early church, saints, martyrs, medieval theologians, history
c. Desire for greater Unity
d. Desire for Ultimate Authority
Dr. Allison demonstrates that the Roman Catholic Church does not really satisfy those desires and that Quest; he responds with a robust biblical response. (For the time slot he has.)
This analysis was similar to a JETS article that Scott McKnight wrote several years ago.
Dr. Craig Blaising's lecture on the canon was excellent and offered some new insights that I had not known or thought about before.
Rev. Chris Castaldo, who has the lectures at his blog, gave the second lecture. It was interesting, but there was a problem. Let's see who will listen to the whole thing and figure out the one problem I would have with Castaldo's approach. He regularly reaches out to Roman Catholics and eats lunch and dinner with priests and has discussions with them over theology. Castaldo is willing to discuss issues and have meals with Roman Catholics. I think that is a good thing. I think it is good to have meals together and "eat with sinners and tax-collectors" and discuss things with Roman Catholics; and Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and atheists. He had some interesting facts on John Henry Cardinal Newman and Peter Martyr Vermigli, a Roman Catholic priest who became a Protestant during the Reformation period.
Castaldo indicates that Vermigli and Thomas Cranmer were the great foundation layers of the Anglican Church; and "historians have proven definitively that Vermigli had a great deal of influence in the modifications of the Book of Common Prayer in 1552."
Five very interesting points that Dr. Craig Blaising made in the 3rd lecture:
1. The reason why the early church did not make an official list of the books that belonged in the canon in first 2-3 centuries was because it would have been easier for the Roman persecutors to identify the ones that they wanted to confiscate and burn. (though there is some evidence of partial lists of books that follow the criterion/rule of faith; i.e., the Muratorian Canon (about 170 AD), Irenaeus' basic "canon" of referring to most of the NT books in 180 AD; and Origen around 250 AD seems to have the same list of books as Athanasius in 367 AD),
2. Tradition - "the things handed down" and Traitor - "one who hands over" (the Scriptures to the Roman persecutors) - both come from the same root word.
3. He says that the famous passage in Irenaeus 3:3:2, that says “every church must agree” (with the Roman Church) meaning is refuted by Louise Abramowski in a Journal of Theological Studies article in 1977.
Abramowski, L. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. III. 3, 2: Ecclesia Romana and Omms Ecclesia; and ibid. 3 , 3 : Anacletus of Rome . Journal of Theological Studies. Oxford University Press, 1977. I tried to find the article on line, but all I found was the title in a Pdf of the indexes.
4. His comments on Athanasius and his 39th Easter Letter and a section from Orations Against the Arians was indeed interesting! Athanasius – Against the Arians (Orations Against the Arians) 1:9 – "we take Scripture and put it up as a light on a candlestick" – the Scripture is like light on a candlestick; and he proceeds to expound a great doctrinal passage on Christ, very similar to the "rule of faith" in Irenaeus and Tertullian; and Athanasius also includes "homo-ousios"( 'ομοουσιος) in this segment.
5. Dr. Blaising did a good job of showing that the "rule (canon) of faith" in both Irenaeus and Tertullian were fed from Scripture and the main reason for discerning the books of the NT was because they contained the rule of faith or compatible with the rule of faith.
Dr. Blaising said that Cyril of Alexandria was the main driving force behind the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD. But Cyril died in 444 AD. At the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD, Cyril was the main force in that council and was very aggressive in condemning Nestorius. Dr. Blaising meant that his efforts and writings influenced others who later led the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD, because they even submitted Leo's Tome to Cyril of Alexandria's writings.