Saturday, March 24, 2012
In Catholic Apologetics we many times end up dealing with the usual suspects. You know who they are. the radicals who question whether Catholics are even Christian and who KNOW they are going to heaven but are not really sure about anyone else. I have generally found these types of Protestant apologists to be rude, arrogant, condescending, and not at all Christ-like. They are the types who think that Salvation is a purely OBJECTIVE phenomenon with no subjective component either on God's part or our own. The 'god' they worship doesn't really care about human beings. He just uses them to prove how great He is. And the 'elect' in their view are chosen arbitrarily with no reference to either their love for God or man. I refer to these kind of Protestants as 'Death Eaters' or 'The Kampus Krusade for Kthulhu.'
Numbered among these ne'er-do-wells are James 'Pseudopodeo' White, Robert Reymond, Jack Chick, James Swann, Jimmy Swaggart and his spawn Donnie, Robert Zins, and the ever militant Ian Paisley just to name a few. This crowd will literally tell you that unless someone believed in "Luther's view of salvation of faith alone apart from good works" that person could not be saved. They are actually willing to consign 1500 years of pre-Deformation Christians and 500 years of post-Defomation non-Protestants to eternal punishment in a "christless eternity" because they either rejected OR NEVER KNEW Luther's private interpretations. The teaching of the church from time immemorial is eother denied, misrepresented, or ignored as unimportant. Pushed to the extreme, they will claim that the Church apostatized in the 1st Century after the death of the Apostles and that sound doctrine was not rediscovered until the 16th Century.
Recently, I discovered a new website "Called to Communion: where the Reformation meets Rome" which hosts articles by former Protestants who have entered into Communion with the Catholic Church. The level of discourse is above average, devout ,and respectful of both Catholic and Protestant sensibilities but from a Catholic viewpoint. This is an excellent site that I highly recommend.
There was an article at this site entitled "Ecclesial Deism" by Bryan Cross which directly deals with the claims of the Death Eater crowd that Catholics cannot be Christians. More importantly it makes the telling BIBLICAL argument that if the Church in the 1st Century (or the 4th Century for that matter) had abandoned sound doctrine, then the Gates of Hell would have prevailed against the Church in spite of Jesus' promise that they would not do so. Bryan makes the further point that such an argument is derived from the philosophical position of Deism and not form the biblical and tradition views of Divine Providence.
There are several articles on Ecclesial Deism that you can find by Googling that term , but Bryan's is the first one to use this term and it is an important one. I recommend that Catholics view this article and the responses to it for an in depth treatment of this issue.
We should remember that despite the dissembling of the Death Eater crowd, God so LOVED world that he sent his only beloved Son (John 3:16). It was not for His self-aggrandizment but to save poor sinners (Phillipians 2:4-8). Furthermore we have been told quite clearly by Jesus himself that to gain eternal life we must keep the commandments (Mat 19: 16-17): Love God and love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Luke 10:25-28). Faith alone is not complete without our response to God in love (James 2:22). As St. Paul told us, "So in the end three things will endure: faith, hope, and love ; but the greatest of these is love. " (1Cor 13:13).