Monday, May 21, 2007

Those Conversions

I have been reading Prof. McKnights' paper published by the JETS on September 2002 entitled From Wheaton to Rome: Why Evangelicals Become Roman Catholics. I have been reading it in the light of famous and prominent convesions lately, like that of Dr. Francis Beckwith's and now in Lutheran circles that of Prof. Koon's. Now isn't that embarassing? I can hear RC friends hollering... "Jump ship, join the bandwagon, your ship is sinking, see, they are leaving the Titanic".

I have few random thoughts here.

1.) I wonder what those Lutheran martyrs and other Protestants of other stripes who gave their lives rather than recant during the Inquisition, would say? Those people who were murdered, tortured, killed, burned rather than renounce their confession. I wonder what the Evangelical converts would say to them - could it be this - you died for nothing, bad luck, you should have listened to the Pope , the Mother Church has been right all along, you got what you deserve. I hope not.

2.) I have not read Prof Koon's paper, but I have just browsed through it, I have no time lately, my thesis is 3 years late and I can not afford to be side tracked like blogging! But I noticed he quoted Cardinal Newmans' work - An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. Now again, I have not read the whole work of the Cardinal, just read sections here and there. I was a bit turned off, because he would say the Church Fathers believed this and that but there is not much reference for me to check. But here is really what has got my mind thinking lately. Cardinal Newman said in that work this
To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant.

Now pause a little and feel the blow of that statement and now put your mind on what was the theme or spirit of that paper? - the theme was on how the doctrines of the RCC are historical. It tries to defend and justify how one can believed in RCC dogmas even though historically the evidence for such is nil, e.g. - supremacy of the pope, papal infallibility, immaculate conception of Mary etc. That art and process of defending and arguing speaks from an outsider and ignoramus like me this thing ... as if he was saying - no, the RCC is deep in history even though you can not find in history that our doctrines have been believed by people of apostolic times, it is there - you just could not find it in Scripture or history. Duh? Go figure.

3. Lastly for today, Prof. McKnights's paper outlined several reasons for conversion, one factor is the crisis, but more on that later.


Venerable Aussie said...

"Now isn't that embarassing? I can hear RC friends hollering... "Jump ship, join the bandwagon, your ship is sinking, see, they are leaving the Titanic"."

No that is not what I want to say at all. I believe that there is a real working of the Holy Spirit in our age. Again, I believe this is an amazing time that we are living in.

Yes, I do believe it is wonderful that so many great thinkers and great Christians have taken that difficult first step - removing their Protestant glasses - and have begun to see that the Catholic Church of today is precisely the same Church as that founded by Christ. For many it has been a long, tortuous, humiliating, humbling, revealing journey. For all of them it boils down to one key issue: Christ in His Providence established one universal hierarchical Church with authority to bind and loose, and with a promise that He would never abandon it - the Church is therefore the great gift of Christ. They treasure the written word of God as confirmed and handed down to us by the authority of this very same Church, but repudiate Sola Scripture and Sola Fide as being unscriptural and demonstrably unworkable. To think that Christ would establish His Church on principles of confusion and chaos is, well, need I say more...

But don't misunderstand me. I am earnestly seeking to understand the differences that separate us, and in no way do I wish to be triumphalistic or disparaging. I have learnt a lot from your blog, and appreciate what you have to say.

On the issue of Newman, I was in the Mannix Library in the city the other day and there are literally shelves and shelves of his writings. So to imply that he just made up things the Church Fathers said is a bit rich!

And when you "wonder what those Lutheran martyrs and other Protestants of other stripes" would say, well what they had to say would probably be as relevant as what Michael Servetus would have to say to Calvin. Let's just pray that in God's Mercy they, like St Thomas More and St John Fisher, are enjoying the beatific vision.

You might remember I pointed you a while back to former Melbourne Lutheran pastor Peter Holmes' interview on EWTN's The Journey Home program. Well last week's show featured former Lutheran pastor Paul Quist and wife Carol Quist. They left everything and came here to Melbourne to study at JP2 Institute, becoming Catholic at Easter a couple of years back. Again, they are humble, gracious people, who love their Lutheran brethren.

You'll find it here under The Journey Home:

Now I'm off to Jakarta tomorrow for a couple of days, so must fly. God Bless you Lito.

Venerable Aussie said...

Actually if you're quick (ie if you do it tonight ((Monday)) you can see the video of the interview here:

and click on "The Journey Home" under "Archived Video in RealVideo"

I say quick because this week's program will probably replace it when it is shown live in the US tomorrow.

L P Cruz said...

Dear Venerable.

I was not referring to your good self, I was referring to the RC apologists in the Internet. Thank you for your kind words.

Cardinal Newman was no small scholar. I know he was a giant, but his work on Development let me down because I would expected some more scholarly citings rather than blanket rants that made his essay look like propaganda.

I have also listened to Mr. Holmes testimony a couple of times, believe me - I have not been convinced that they have left and abhored their Lutheranism behind, they are just transferring it over to the RCC. Let us face it, you will be allowed to be crypto-Lutheran in fact cryto-something in the Mother Church, she will allow you to do that so long as you do not publicly be anti-Papal etc. In other words, I do not mean to be insulting, when I hear their RC piety that matches that in South America or Philippines, I will be convinced, they are no longer Lutherans.

My opinion is that they are still holding on to some Lutheran teaching at the same time finding comfort that they belong to the one "true Church". You get the good of both worlds. Of course, I am being anecdotal but I have my skepticism which I hope should be well taken.

That is why I said, this is my opinion, only. I am not that convinced. Please wait for my analysis of conversions from Prof. MC Knight, the issue of authority gives many a sense of comfort.

this speaks of my conviction which I hope may be of help to you too.

J. K. Jones said...


Good post. I look forward to the day you will have time to post more on these topics.

Salvation by faith alone is important, but I would not regulate the authority of Scripture alone to secondary status as the cited paper seems to. The reformation teachings are tied together in a way that does not allow for their separation.

I select the Bible as the sole authority for faith and life because I believe it contains the teachings of the Apostles. It expresses them in truth, with no mixture of error.

The early leaders of the Christian Church did not find a contradiction between the traditions they received and the Bible. Further, they based their traditions on Scripture.

A scholarly treatment of the issues at hand can be found in The Shape of Sola Scriptura by Keith A. Mathison. The reformation doctrine is not as far from the teaching of the early church as it has been reported to be.
Venerable Aussie, I pray we all find the truth together.

God bless!

L P Cruz said...


Dear brother, here is my logic /take on the Church Fathers even if they did not teach sola fide

Here is my take on the Fathers. Let us assume that the Fathers did not teach JBFA( I believe some did). The question is this.

1. Did the Fathers use sola scriptura as guiding principle for resolving doctrine? I see evidence that the answer is YES? Hence, use the same standard as they used on each other’s teachings.

2. If so, then their writings are subjected to the same priniciple of authority as the one that they espoused - Scripture alone, after all the writings of the Fathers are not inspired, ergo if JBFA can be shown from Scripture then it is a legitimate doctrine to believe in, as Scripture backs it up.

Sola Scriptura is highly prominent in the writings of Augustine.

Indeed, as you prayed, we rely on the HS to show us the Truth which is Jesus - the Lord - the way truth and life.

Over at Pr Weedon's blog, you can see that people can transfer their trust in Christ to the Church (in themselves). Christ is robbed of his rightful place - the faith of his people. Christ is glorified when we use him as our means/mediator to God, not the Church - this is trusting in man.
cf Jer 17:5-8

J. K. Jones said...

I agree with your statements. I've posted on Sola Scriputra before. I think the church fathers believed it as the reformers did.

Keep up the good work.