Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Dr. Hahn rediscovers justification by faith and works?

As I have promised, here now is the first installment of my analysis of Dr. Hahn's conversion experience in the RCC. This is taken from his book "Rome Sweet Home". I will have to cut to the chase and I suggest a good place to start the discussion would be in Chapter 3, New Conceptions on the Covenant. Here are a few points...
1. Dr. Hahn felt impressed that the RCC was the only denomination that thought against contraception. This is in lieu of the fact that every marriage act is a covenantal act such that the "two become one" in the covenant of marriage, the "one" they become is so real that nine months later they might have to give it a name! The child embodies their covenant oneness. Thus Dr. Hahn was apparently disappointed that it was only the RCC who opposed contraception amongst the many christian denominations in the world. He says, the RCC got it right. He admired their courage and integrity in teaching this unpopular truth. This was the hole through which he entered and entertained favorably RCC teachings. I surmised that Mr. and Mrs. Hahn were
practicing birth control such that he said "a change in our theology had produced a change in Kimberly's anatomy". It is interesting that part of this chapter's title had the word "conception" on it. Was there pun intended? I am getting ahead of myself so ...
2. Scott says that in Scripture - contracts involve exchange of properties but covenants mean an exchange of persons such that it is a form of sacred family bond.Covenant kingship was stronger than biological and in the OT case, God's covenant with Israel is God's fathering of that nation as his own family. Thus Scott was not happy and consider it inadequate the courtroom justification language of the Protestants. For him justification is more than being declared righteous or treated righteous. Justification was not in the courtroom but in a family room. He discovered through his study of Romans and Galatians that St. Paul did not teach justification by faith alone, he shared Prof. Shepherd's conviction. By virtue of James 2:24 and 1 Cor 13:2 - St. Martin Luther was wrong.

Some initial comments now...
1. In my reading Matt 19:5, "oneness" of one's flesh in marriage did not pertain to children. What I am saying is that the husband and the wife are not one because they have children. They are already one by virtue of marriage. The marriage covenant makes them one. But even if the person is married and have never performed a marital act with his/her spouse, that person is still one with his/her spouse. That is what marriage does, it defines oneness. It seems to me that the Hahns were not impressed by what they saw in the protestant circles they were in, in that these folks probably acted like the world in their unshameful use of contraceptives. Scott considered the marriage covenant as a bi-lateral covenant, but in the Protestant sense, at least in some Calvinistic churches, they see the covenant that God performs to be unilateral not bi-lateral. If Scott were in a Lutheran church he would probably not get enamored with covenants because Lutherans look at the term covenant as synonymous with "testament" - the last will and testament (the New Covenant). In Lutheran thinking - a testament is a gift, you perform nothing to receive it. It is more precise rather than the word covenant because a testament is a desire for the departing to make something happen by way of bequesting a gift. Human beings may impose on each other conditions on their covenants but the way God depicts the New Testament, Jesus said it was his will and testament - his death was a gift - that is why he died before we were even born. We were not consulted, he gave his life as a gift to sinners.
2. Court room or family room language - that is the issue. Well sin is missing the mark, human beings are not God's children who wondered off the path - well that may be true in some sense, but human beings are sinners - sin is the transgression of the Law. In otherwords, human beings are lawbreakers according to the Bible - that is the language the Bible uses to describe us. The Bible does not speak of human beings as overall God's children, it speaks of us as sinners/rebels - law breakers thus, between court room or family room language was St Martin Luther wrong? I do not think so. In fact in this respect, he seems to be on target, on the mark. Spot on.

More to come...


Venerable Aussie said...

Hey I'm still around - just really really busy. I feel I'm just a beginner in this area. As a cradle Catholic I can understand why so many have left the Church in the past couple of decades: for most, they were never catechised properly in the first place and don't know what they were leaving. We've had some shocking teachers, priests, nuns, so-called "role" models (and some really good and faithful ones too of course). But I know that you don't leave Peter because of Judas (or even because of Peter for that matter!) What's the altervative? Just endless splitting and splintering and division... and I can't find any biblical evidence to suggest that this is what Jesus desired when he established His Church.

Thanks for diving into Scott Hahn's testimony and for being open to his conversion story. Last year he authored a beautiful hardcover illustrated textbook for secondary students entitled "Understanding the Scriptures". He and Kimberley even signed it personally for us (I was in the right place at the right time!!) I've started going through this on a daily basis with one of my daughters and I think I'm learning more than she is!

And if I had the money, I'd hop on a plane and go to this:


I'm going to use his Genesis to Jesus scripture study program with a youth group here later this year(see Scott's website at salvationhistory.com)

So on a personal level, Scott is having a really profound influence throughout the Catholic world, even here in little ol' Melbourne!

L P Cruz said...

Hi Venerable,

I believe that Scott Hahn was already attracted to the RCC long before. His theology does not really come into play in the process, I really doubt if it did. He admits that the RCC's high view of contraception was the driving force that caused him to look at the RCC and conclude that it is the true Church.

However, the issue for other protestants unlike him is the Gospel. We should split because of this. Also St Paul said - 1 Cor 11 19For there (A)must also be factions among you, (B)so that those who are approved may become evident among you.

If you study the reason for the divide, it was because of doctrine that Luther and the protestants left the RCC. They tried to reform it according to scripture but they were vanished. The Protestants consider themselves the Church in Exile.

Feel free to drop more your thoughts...