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Thread: Book Plunge: Roman, But Not Catholic

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    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    Book Plunge: Roman, But Not Catholic

    My thoughts on this look at a defense of Protestantism.

    The link can be found here.

    ------

    What do I think of Jerry Walls and Kenneth Collins's book published by Baker Academic? Let's plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    For the most part, I have never got into the debate between Catholics, Protestants, and Eastern Orthodox. As a good Protestant, I have my reasons, but it has never been a focus. Still, as a podcast host, I have been a fan of the work of Jerry Walls and when I heard about this book coming out, I thought it would be a good one to have a discussion over.*

    The thesis behind the book is that the Roman Catholic Church is indeed Roman, but it's not Catholic, as it is not what is universally believed. While that is a charge, there is not anger in the book. It's not an attempt to destroy Roman Catholicism. The writers have a great love for Catholics. Collins grew up with a Catholic education and Walls did some of his studies at the Catholic school of Notre Dame.*

    Despite that, they do think there is something at stake. There is a reason the Reformation matters. The writers then take us on a trip through church history and various theological issues such as questions of authority, looking at the Papacy, Marian devotion, etc.*

    They did point out that it looks like for many converts to Rome from Protestantism, it is an all-or-nothing game. As someone who loves history, this is of great interest to me. I meet many people who have the attitude that if there is one contradiction in the Bible, how can we know that any of it is true? This is a position I find frankly, ridiculous. I may not know how it is that Judas died for betraying Jesus exactly, but that would be a far cry from saying I can't even know that Jesus existed.

    It ultimately comes down to a question of authority. Suppose the Roman Catholic claims that I do not have an authoritative magisterium to interpret the text. Am I to really think that I have no reason whatsoever to think I don't know what some particular texts mean unless someone else tells me? Sure, there are difficult passages, but there are passages that are not difficult. Even while simple passages have great underlying nuances to them many times that can amplify their meaning all the more, the basic context is the same.*

    Consider John 3:16. I can get the basic message. God loved the world and then gave His Son for that world so that none could perish but that all could have eternal life. Of course, a deeper understanding of Christianity will bring out more for me from that passage. I could ask questions about what it means to perish or whether in a Calvinistic context the world refers to everyone or just the elect? The basic message though of God loving and wanting to redeem humanity is still there.*

    What has to be asked is even if one thinks one has to have an authority, why this authority? Why should I think this one is right on everything in fact, including Marian positions I see zero support for in Scripture or church history? There are many groups that take the same approach with a ruling authority who says what the Scriptures mean. Why should I think the RCC has it all right?

    The history of the Papacy I have found as a problem as well. There were no doubt many wicked Popes in the history of the church. This has to be taken seriously. If it is true then how can we say that God was guiding the church when wicked Popes were elected?

    I should say in all of these concerns, I am pleased to see that many things I do not remember being brought up. For instance, there was no political gain made about the claims of pedophile priests, something I think is not really as accurate as it is made out to be and there are even worse cases in the public school system. Let's be sure. One can disagree with Catholics without being anti-Catholic. I happen to have a great delight in my Catholic brothers and sisters and happily work with them in defending Christianity.

    The book ends with a cry for unity. It would be great to see it happen, but we are not there yet. Pope Francis certainly is being a different Pope and rocking the boat a bit. Only time will tell what will happen to the RCC in the future.*

    Still, those who are considering crossing the Tiber and going to Rome should really consider the material in this book first. It does give a lot of food for thought. I also think many Catholics reading this book would not think they were being attacked, which is good. We need to be able to discuss our differences and discuss them in true words but loving words as well. We may not like what the other side has to say, but we should all hear what others have to say and be willing to consider their position. If we have to change ours, we change it. If we don't yet, we at least have a better understanding of one another.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters

  2. Amen Jedidiah, LostSheep amen'd this post.
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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    You don't seem to cover the actual thesis of the book at all in your synopsis.

    The title "Roman" is also suspect, by the way. The Orthodox in former Constantinople still call themselves "Romans"; what is now called the Roman Catholic Church hasn't been part of the Roman Empire since 1054.
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    It ultimately comes down to a question of authority. Suppose the Roman Catholic claims that I do not have an authoritative magisterium to interpret the text. Am I to really think that I have no reason whatsoever to think I don't know what some particular texts mean unless someone else tells me? Sure, there are difficult passages, but there are passages that are not difficult. Even while simple passages have great underlying nuances to them many times that can amplify their meaning all the more, the basic context is the same.
    Nick, I'm having trouble understanding the bolded sentence since it includes a double-negative. Would you restate it?

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    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michelle View Post
    Nick, I'm having trouble understanding the bolded sentence since it includes a double-negative. Would you restate it?
    Okay. For that one, it's the idea that you can't understand the text unless you have an infallible interpreter. Why should I think that?

    And for OBP, I thought I had. It's hard to condense a 400+ page book into a small section.

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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
    And for OBP, I thought I had. It's hard to condense a 400+ page book into a small section.
    While you discuss various issues, you don't really tie them back to "not Catholic."

    From a Roman Catholic perspective, the Church remains Catholic because it defines those outside of it as not of the Church.

    I should note that the dilemma regarding wicked leaders was brought up, and resolved, in the Donatist schism. God does not require perfect leaders to guide his Church, and can work through even bad ones. If it turns out that the pastor who baptized you was having an affair at the time and leading a deeply hypocritical life, does that render your baptism null? Cannot even hypocritical leaders guide others to salvation?

    As Orthodox, I can agree that Reformation was needed, but disagree about how it was carried out and its results.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio

    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

  7. Amen thewriteranon amen'd this post.
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    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    While you discuss various issues, you don't really tie them back to "not Catholic."

    From a Roman Catholic perspective, the Church remains Catholic because it defines those outside of it as not of the Church.

    I should note that the dilemma regarding wicked leaders was brought up, and resolved, in the Donatist schism. God does not require perfect leaders to guide his Church, and can work through even bad ones. If it turns out that the pastor who baptized you was having an affair at the time and leading a deeply hypocritical life, does that render your baptism null? Cannot even hypocritical leaders guide others to salvation?

    As Orthodox, I can agree that Reformation was needed, but disagree about how it was carried out and its results.
    I could bring up such a point in the debate that I will have on my show with them and an EO and an RCC.

    They do address it in the book as well.

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