Sunday, February 25, 2007

Pachelbel - A Contribution

I often joke around and sinfully brag to my kids that Club L has at least two famous contributions to the world. What would they be you might ask? Bach and Pachelbel!

Over at Aardvark Alley I heard about his being down on Canon in D where he feature this Korean boy's version of it. Listen to it and tell me if Pachelbel was not a genius. Of course I also hope you see the genius of Jeong-Hyun Lim.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Alleged Anglican - Roman Catholic Union.

I am historically still active in a Calvinistic list dispite my being the black sheep - the token member of Club "L". One gentleman posted the news of the possible swing of the Anglican Church to the Roman Catholic communion apparently because of the issue of ordination of women. I know this is a controversial issue and some who thought that the LCA would be ordaining women, did indeed leave it and became RCs. Fortunately for the LCA, the issue did not pass, at least for now, until it re-surfaces again.

The news of the Anglican-Roman Catholic merging as reported by the Times news is found here

One respondent on the list, from the USA with candor, said this...
After 2,000 years of church history some folks still think they can get spiritual unity from organizational structures under one head. That is folly and contrary to everything we know.

I can understand that college kids would fall into that kind of sophomorish idealism but when leaders of organizations with a billion members starts to live in that fantasy we are seeing mass hysteria at work. Next I expect to see the Bishops and Cardinals all engaged in Saint Vidas Dances.

Having many different denominations, movements and groups of Christians is one of the reasons the USA has such a rich and dynamic Christian life. We need more denominations/ groupings not less. We need more splits and splinters house churches and beach churches and tall steeple churches.

I can understand his point on hysteria - a band wagon effect can come in for as I read the Times article, it gave a sense that Anglican resistance is futile , a kinda "you shall be assimilated" message was ringing in my head. There are only 78 milliion Anglicans compared to the Roman Catholic Churches' 1 billion, really the Anglicans are just a drop in the bucket but influential in the Protestant world. Shortly after that, we hear the news that the reported demise of the Anglican Church is quite pre-mature. The news dispelling such hysteria is found here

It is interesting what the Anglican Bishop of N.Sydney Dr. Glenn Davies said in that article
We believe Jesus Christ is the true leader of the church. If a Pope gives a directive, every parish priest follows it. If the Archbishop of Canterbury offers a directive, most ministers of a parish would think that a nice piece of advice. The very thought we would hand over our authority would be a romantic notion at the least

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Scripture Alone, in what way?

Since I got no takers on my Desanctis series specially from my RC friends I will digress a bit and mention another misunderstood sola.

Sola Scriptura is another one of those things misunderstood by modern evangelicals the same way that Sola Fide is misunderstood to mean - no sacramental usage of Baptism and Lord's Supper. For some Sola Scriptura means the Bible read with nothing, no aids, read without history and without creed. This is so misunderstood that my RC friends are rightly buffled by some Protestants. That is why when they say "hey but you guys though you say Sola Scriptura use Tradition", and I warmly admit right away - "yes" and do not deny it. The question is how is Tradition used?

Here is an article by Rev. Fouts on Scripture and Tradition. I think this article spells out where Reformation Christians are different from today's modern evangelical.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Desanctis III On his "conversion"

I hope my Lutheran readers do not check out simply because I am discussing a non-Lutheran Protestant's work. I am not here to glorify any ism, but I am sure they would agree, we are here to glorify Christ and his Gospel - his Crucifixion, his work of forgiveness for sinners.

Here is now a no nonsense approach of Desanctis regarding his conversion... but as you read, do note that he held the position Emeritus Censor, and was professor of theology at the Theological Academy in Rome.
Perhaps it will be asked on what account I have left a position so good, a career which could open up the way for me to the first ecclesiastical dignities, in orer to throw my self to the arms of a troublesome and uncertain future. I have never been pleased with stories which have been written about conversions, because they are mainly a panegyric which the converted one writes of himself; and strong on this opinion I shall not write the story of my conversion, only I shall say to him who will believe it, that the motives that have moved me to abandon Rome, and take refuge in a strange land [he ran to Malta] under the care of Providence, spring from preferring the Glory that comes from God to that which come from men; heavnly benefits to earthly blessings; true peace of conscience , which is only found in Christ, to the false peace the world gives

This is the secret of my conversion, and as for those who will not believe it, I await them before the tribunal of Christ, when all the secrets of hearts shall be manifested, and there they will see if I have lied. .

I offer this observation unlike those in EWTN who seem to come out saying "Eureka - I am so happy I found and now I belong to the TRUE Church", this fellow points to the peace found in Christ. The conversion testimony does not glorify any church body, though it would be obvious that Desanctis aligned with the Waldensians of Italy, I guess my point is that he got converted to Christ who alone gave him peace of conscience. This was somewhat similar to Luther's conversion to the Gospel as well as that of Calvin.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Was Luther an anti-Pope in the first place?

I often encounter portrayals of Luther as a person who started from the beginning as a person who had an axe to grind against the Pope of his day. Was Luther going to be happy only if he saw the western Church divided? Was he a schismatic to start with? Did he genuinely want reform or did he want division in the first place.?The more these accusations I hear, the more I like to go to the sources, but the more I get convinced as I read them, that the answer to the question was "no", he did not start as an anti-Pope for the sake of being one. I wish the focus on Luther should stop because what was this man after all? May be they think Luther is the Protestant's Pope and by casting him as a demon, Protestantism will simply crumble. It seems to me that he was an ordinary sinner who looked to Christ's Gospel as his hope, as someone once said - one beggar telling another beggar where he can find bread.

At any rate here are Luther's own words and I highlight some points to consider in which I think he denied the allegation that he was an anti-Pope to begin with. This is found in the Note to the Christian Reader.



Above all things I beseech the Christian reader and beg him for
the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, to read my earliest books very
circumspectly and with much pity, knowing that before now I too
was a monk, and one of the right frantic and raving papists. When
I took up this matter against Indulgences, I was so full and
drunken, yea, so besotted in papal doctrine that, out of my great
zeal, I would have been ready to do murder -- at least, I would
have been glad to see and help that murder should be done -- on
all who would not be obedient and subject to the pope, even to
his smallest word.

Such a Saul was I at that time; and I meant it right earnestly;
and there are still many such to-day. In a word, I was not such a
frozen and ice-cold champion of the papacy as Eck and others of
his kind have been and still are. They defend the Roman See more
for the sake of the shameful belly, which is their god, than
because they are really attached to its cause. Indeed I am wholly
of the opinion that like latter-day Epicureans, they only laugh at
the pope. But I verily espoused this cause in deepest earnest and
in all fidelity; the more so because I shrank from the Last Day
with great anxiety and fear and terror, and yet from the depths of
my heart desired to be saved.

Therefore, Christian reader, thou wilt find in my earliest books
and writings how many points of faith I then, with all humility,
yielded and conceded to the pope, which since then I have held and
condemned for the most horrible blasphemy and abomination, and
which I would have to be so held and so condemned forever. Amen.

Thou wilt therefore ascribe this my error, or as my opponents
venomously call it, this inconsistency of mine, to the time, and
to my ignorance and inexperience. At the beginning I was quite
alone and without any helpers, and moreover, to tell the truth,
unskilled in all these things, and far too unlearned to discuss
such high and weighty matters. For it was without any intention,
purpose, or will of mine that I fell, quite unexpectedly, into
this wrangling and contention. This I take God, the Searcher of
hearts, to witness.

I tell these things to the end that, if thou shalt read my books,
thou mayest know and remember that I am one of those who, as St.
Augustine says of himself, have grown by writing and by teaching
others, and not one of those who, starting with nothing, have in a
trice become the most exalted and most learned doctors. We find,
alas! many of these self-grown doctors; who in truth are nothing,
do nothing and accomplish nothing, are moreover untried and
inexperienced, and yet, after a single look at the Scriptures,
think themselves able wholly to exhaust its spirit.

Farewell, dear reader, in the Lord. Pray that the Word may be
further spread abroad, and may be strong against the miserable
devil. For he is mighty and wicked, and just now is raving
everywhere and raging cruelly, like one who well knows and feels
that his time is short, and that the kingdom of his Vicar, the
Antichrist in Rome, is sore beset. But may the God of all grace
and mercy strengthen and complete in us the work He has begun, to
His honor and to the comfort of His little flock. Amen.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bad boy Luther

I have been thinking on what a friend of mine said... about Luther

I meant that they[Luther and the Reformers] should have stopped after being warned in Exsurge Domine to cease their publications and public preaching.

That's what I meant about my being pragmatic. It seems like a surrender, to back down from the threat of excommunication, but the Church had had its bleak periods before, the biggest one I can think of being the Arian heresy, which overtook most of the Church, and most of her leadership. It was the Lord's hand that saved the Church. So if it is a surrender, it is a surrender to God's reliable providence and pastoring. And no better healing can have ever been had.

Tragically, Luther did feel that it would take the Lord's hand to resolve the corruption he saw, but he just couldn't stand by and wait.
I wonder if in the Arian controversy, Jeff would be willing to have adopted the same attitude - just be quiet - let God sort it out. When false teaching is happening in the body of Christ, controversy and debate should never stop. In my thinking this is part and parcel of God putting us in line.

Jeff speaks of surrender, so surrender to false teaching then? So Luther is a bad boy, he should have recanted on some of his assertions like...

25. The Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, is not the vicar of Christ over all the churches of the entire world, instituted by Christ Himself in blessed Peter.
28. If the pope with a great part of the Church thought so and so, he would not err; still it is not a sin or heresy to think the contrary, especially in a matter not necessary for salvation, until one alternative is condemned and another approved by a general Council.
33. That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit.
35. No one is certain that he is not always sinning mortally, because of the most hidden vice of pride.
37. Purgatory cannot be proved from Sacred Scripture which is in the canon[church laws?].
Point 25 is very evident that the Councils like that in Carthage 419 and on wards did not consider the Bishop of Rome as he Vicar of Christ over all the churches of the entire world. The EO never believed it and so did the early Christians. Point 28 is obvious because all men are sinners and therefore may err. Simple logic will dictate that if we believe the Pope is a human being too. Well for point 33, as a Christian - you think for yourself , you figure it out- should we burn those who disagree with us? Did the early Christians burn the Arians or the Donatists? I wonder. Point 35 is again just stating what the Bible says - 1 John 1:7-8. Point 37 was never believed by the early Christians either.

To do what the Exsurge says is to accept erroneous teaching (at least from Luther's eyes), in otherwords, to comply meant a recantation. Thus he would have to agree that the Pope was the Vicar of Christ for all churches, he would have to agree that the Pope never errs etc etc.

So Luther was the bad boy for not complying, but what about the Papacy for teaching the sale of indulgences, this was not bad?

I wonder, are we not calling good evil and evil good here? I am just thinking...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Desanctis II on Layers

Was Desanctis another Alberto Rivera? I am not yet that convinced that he was, so I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt and reserve my judgements till proven otherwise. Rivera died just about 10 years ago, while Desanctis died 100+ years ago. Click here for some info about him, this link at least confirms that he was indeed a former RC priest who held an important office in the RCC in the mid 1800s.

Scholarship dictates that we examine the things he claimed and said and prove/disprove if such claims did match reality.

According to Desanctis, before plunging in to become an RC, one must see it in Rome. For him, the RCC should be seen in terms of layers and I quote from his preface (p.7) once more ...

You must go to Rome, and observing all things with a searching eye, you will see that real Roman Catholicism has three different doctrines -- the official doctrine, which is very elastic, and as such, may be inderstood in not a bad sense. That doctrine serves as a weapon to the Jesuits and their adherents; and with the double meaning to that doctrine they show faithful Catholics that the Protestants calumniate Catholicism. They have a second doctrine, which they call the theological doctrine, that which goes much further than the official doctrine, but still is restrained within certain limits. Finally, there is the real doctrine, that which is taught to the people, and which they practice; which is full of superstitions and often full of impiety.
By the way a few more points, the book I have does not contain the Conclusion and Notes for the Italian reader, apparently there were documentations that were presented in the Italian edition to prove his points. Also at the time of his writing, there was already a gainsayer called Fr. Perrone who has thrown skepticism at his writings.

Hmm, "calumniate", now that is a new word for me...

Later on I will quote his conversion experience which I find not sensational at all...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Luigi Desanctis I

I am a proud owner of a very rare book printed in 1903 by this former RC priest turned Waldensian in the late 19th c. (1865) Fr. Desanctis wrote a series of letters in the style of C. S. Lewis compiled into a book he entitled Roma Papale (trans. Roman Papacy?) and was translated to English by Maria Betts entitled Popery, Puseyism and Jesuitism.

Apparently the ex-Father Desanctis has the following credentials : born in a RC family, 22 years in a Congregation of priests associated with Jesuits. He was Confessor in Rome for 15 years. He was 8 years the parsih priest of Church of the Magdalene in Rome.

I am not so sure if his boook can be classified as another conspiracy theory that proposes the notion that the Jesuits have a program to win back Protestants to the Pope. I judge a book by its contents not by what it says in its cover. The reason why I like to study this book is because some of the the things he said in his Preface rings true to my experience.

Here is an example. I have often said and observe to the ex-Prots that the RC you see in western countries is not the same thing you see in Latinized countries like the Philippines, Mexico, Venezuela etc. I say this as a person who was also raised Roman and was devoted to the practice of the 7 sacraments and devotion to the saints. Remarkably here is what Desanctis says in p. 4.

He who wishes to know Roman Catholicism as it is, must study it in Rome, and study it, not in books, but see it in action in the Pope, in the Cardinals, and in the Roman congregations. Books often give a false, and always an incomplete, idea of Roman Catholicism. One finds in books either the barbarous and superstitious Papacy of the Middle Ages, or the poetical Papacy of Chateaubriand.

If you observe the Papacy in different countries, you will find it most varied. In the south of Italy you will still find all the superstitions of the medieval age; in England, and in Germany where Roman Catholics are mixed with Protestants, you will find a Papacy less superstitious and more tolerant, to be transformed into superstition and intolerance in the day when it shall have become dominant

Back home, when someone wants to have a child baptized, you will be asked in the church office if you want special or regular baptism which implies that the fee for the special one is dearer than the one for the regular one. In p. 6 Desanctis writes with strong words...
To know that Roman Catholicism is the religion of money, you need to go to Rome, to enter the Chancery, and the Roman Court of equity, and to see in what way bishoprics, canonries, benefices, matrimonial dispensations, and all spiritual favours are bought, to see how the price is haggled over, and to see a class of persons authorized to be the agents of such sales, under the specious title of Apostolic Commisioner.

There are fanatics on both sides of the divide, Desanctis does not seem to be one of them for he writes that he does not want to be controversial and he does not deny that there are good people who are RC and honourable in character. He does not deny that there are people who are acting in good faith but he does contend that it is an effect of culpable ignorance and keeping to pursue childhood prejudices (p.6). Amazingly, I recall my prejudices when I was a young lad.

more later...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

This Jesuit thinks we are not heretics

In this article an RC priest thinks we are not heretics. Thanks very much, that is very kind of him.

Now if I remember history right, they called us heretics while we called them apostate false church. I wonder if we can stop calling them with the "a" word since we will no longer be called with the "h" word? A barter do you suppose?.