Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The separated brethren, and more

  • "Does anyone here know where one can find an Orthodox critique of the late 1990s Roman Catholic-Lutheran World Federation Joint Declaration on Justification? I would love to see a serious review of this document by a good Orthodox theologian. Has one been attempted? I wonder if this is a document that might help unite us." The idea that the Christian East offers a Catholic way out of that battle with the first Protestants is exciting. I wonder, though, if it's necessary. It seems the church and the mainstream Lutherans have answered this, though not at the level of defined doctrine. Faith vs. works was always a non-issue. Other issues ecclesiological (is the church just where the true word is preached and the sacraments duly administered, or must we be under lawful bishops?) and theological (the Mass: Christ's sacrifice made present or just a commemoration?) remain. The Lutherans are our close cousins, reminding us of the primacy of God's love and mercy (salvation as a free gift); we're like the older brother in the parable. Our cousins reminds us in the church of who we are.
  • "Beyond Justification: An Orthodox Perspective by Valerie A. Karras (though I haven't read it) is advertised as a response to the joint declaration." Valerie Karras is a Modernist. That's like reading Hans Küng to find out what Catholicism teaches. No. Find formal statements from the various Orthodox churches' holy synods, if there are any.
  • "I haven't read much Karras, but she definitely represents the more 'reformation' side of Orthodoxy. She seeks out a 'pristine' Orthodoxy which is 'untainted' by Western thought." Bending so far to be un-Roman it becomes Protestant. I can see Western intelligentsia Orthodoxy doing that. (Not baba/yiayia Orthodoxy.) Tearing down "Western captivity" (the Catholic scholasticism the Greeks and Russians adopted for their own purpose, creating a true church, only not Catholic) and by so doing falling for nth-generation Protestantism (feminism, etc.). Reminds me of the politically correct professor tearing down the canon of Western literature only to assign Valley of the Dolls to show how cool she is, as if Jacqueline Susann were from Mongolia. In short, if you think you can avoid Modernism by turning your back on Western Catholicism, forget it.
  • If you accept TULIP on faith, Calvin's as logical as any Catholic scholastic theologian. Once knew a Southerner, upper-class Episcopal irreligious to begin with, who became PCA Presbyterian when he moved to the North for a few years to get his Ivy League degree. People who heard his accent assumed he was a born Baptist. Smart man. If you accept his premises, his faith makes perfect sense.
  • Joel Osteen. This self-help is good as far as it goes. Trouble is it doesn't go nearly far enough, nor does it explain penance or redemptive suffering (the martyrs, etc.). Dropping self-defeating thinking is great; I'm sure he helps a lot of people. But his doctrine falls short. I know he has no theological training; he's always been a good-looking media expert, and I love his accent.
  • He seems to me to be the Protestant analog to the Catholic social-justice crowd. Both leave out redemption and salvation which is the only REAL message of Jesus's life. To say that Jesus came to teach us to how to love understates why the Word became flesh. Yes, He showed us how to love through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Sacrifice, redemption, & salvation. Everything else that is good in Christianity proceeds from this sacrifice (sealed by the Resurrection). Note that I am NOT putting down social justice. Just saying it should be placed in its proper context. Good analogy. Both are mostly this-worldly, the left erring for society, the right for selfishness. If I remember rightly, he and his minister father who started this congregation were Baptists. I don't know if he's affiliated with a denomination; Baptists don't have to be. They're an offshoot of the Congregationalists.
  • What if an Eastern Catholic were elected Pope?

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