Friday, May 25, 2007

Those Re-Conversions

As was said in the last posting, there is much publicity on famous evangelicals converting to Roman Catholicism. Over at Bill Cook's blog we see the reverse of what happened to Dr. Frank Beckwith. Mr. Cook went from SDA to RCC and then to SDA again. I am going to be side tracked a bit and tell you what intrigued me in the comments to Mr. Cooks reflections. Someone who converted to Roman Catholicism commented to him, said this...

When I became a Catholic I was spiritual both a Jew and a Muslim and I didn’t have to give up either to become a Catholic.

This comment confirms what I have been suspicious of, those Lutherans, Baptists (or whatever) who became RC , have they really converted or did they just carry over their spirituality inside the RCC? No one knows the heart, hence you can be in RCC and be a crypto-evangelical, crypto-Jew, crypto-Muslim, crypto-Mason etc, like this gentleman commented. The label you used to wear is no longer there but it is still the same clothing, like new wineskins for old wine. This is what I observed in my younger years and here it is again. So have they really converted with that philosophy in mind?

Now, back to the topic of what Prof. McKnight said of conversions from Evangelicalism to Roman Catholicism. I will just comment on one aspect; he says that the person gets into a crisis situation,a crisis of transendence. One of them is the crisis of certainty (but others would be that of history, unity or authority). I will focus on certainty. These are questions of the type "how do I know I am saved", "how do I know that this interpretation of the Bible is true", "how do I know this is the true church", "how do I know I am in God's will"?

These are legitimate concerns, I had them. I go through crisis of self-doubts too. However, because evangelicalism focuses you on yourself, these crises are made accute. For example, it makes you find out these questions within your inward experiences. Evangelicalism is not the same, it is now post-Evangelical. It has departed miles apart from the Reformation. Whereas in olden days, justification was the core focus, it is now regeneration. The first makes you look outside, the second makes you look inside. It became "Christ for you vs Christ in you", and the latter won. So there will be a lot of swimming going on for a while, until the likes of Mr. Cook come out of the woodwork.

Indeed if you are going to find certainty, you got to find it somewhere outside you, it can not be in you because that is circular. There is no certainty inside you. So, the converts rely on the RCC Magisterium's claims that they are the TRUE Church, and they hope so. This gives security because it has claim to history, has claim to authority and works for unity, what more can you ask? Or does it? Some who went to the RCC have gone beyond and become Sedevacantists.

Going to another authority like the RCC Magisterium is outside yourself indeed. But apparently Calvin said that the RCC and the AnaBaptists are the same. The latter makes you point into yourself as an individual and let's face it the Evangelicals today are highly AnaBaptistic. The former, makes you point in yourselves (us, we and our - The Church). Hence, according to him, they are ruled by something in them, not by something above them. Of course, I have some disagreements with Calvin but here, I think he is correct.

So where does one go? Is this spiritual journey like walking in the wilderness, like the Israelites of old, always going around in circles whereas the Promised Land is just a few miles away? The good thing is that crises do not last very long, what we feel real is not that real. When crises of certainty happens, experience tells me it is an opportune time to go back to Jesus through His Word. And, let's face it, you will miss God's will for you if that is your concern, you will have a feeling that you may not be in the right "church", you may doubt if you have the right interpretation of Scripture etc etc. but if you get all of these right but you get the Gospel wrong, Luther says, you still got error, you still have uncertainty, you just made yourself believe you no longer have them because you belong to the "Church".

13(A)These things I have written to you who (B)believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have (C)eternal life.
1 John 5:13

Seems to me, there is only one thing that we need to be sure of, this thing trumps all uncertainty - Did Jesus died and rose again for your sins' forgiveness? Scripture says "YES". If so, then what is the problem?

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