Friday, June 08, 2007

Those reasons

I am reading an analysis of Dr. Beckwith's ratonale for coming back to the RCC. It is found here

I came to this bit, he comments...

For example, Trent talks about the four causes of justification, which correspond somewhat to Aristotle’s four causes. None of these causes is the work of the individual Christian. For, according to Trent, God’s grace does all the work. However, Trent does condemn “faith alone,” but what it means is mere intellectual assent without allowing God’s grace to be manifested in one’s actions and communion with the Church. This is why Trent also condemns justification by works.

Either he is re-reading Trent with his own sets of presuppositions or he missed some portions of it, for I do not think he could have missed this bit...from Trent

If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ's sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema. (Trent Session VI, Canon XII)

Here Trent was not condemning naked faith or mere faith or assent, it is condemning "trust alone" or "confidence alone" ie "faith alone" as the Reformers defined it.

Now if you are an Evangelical and you are not condemned by these words, please check again, perhaps your notion of faith is not as the Reformers defined it, you may be functioning RC in you ideas of the nature of faith etc.

If as Dr. Beckwith thinks that Trent and the Reformers in their confessions are saying the same thing about "faith" ie mere "assent" is not what they mean, why convert? My point is this - ok, he thinks that the RC position has been mis-represented by his evangelical communion, that is, no, the RCC actually is saying the same thing as his evangelical friends are saying. What is the difference then if he converts back? Is he not simply bringing along what he already affirms? or is there something else more profound underneath?

Then I wonder if he studied the Fathers and the confessions made by the First Evangelicals and compared them?!? Frankly I don't think he did. I think he did not dare bother about the Book of Concord. On the otherhand, if there is a pre-disposition already, perhaps the BoC would have been irrelevant anyway.

Kinda, "I have made up my mind, do not confuse me with facts"!


Steve Newell said...

I guess that Dr. Beckwith is doing to Trent what Rome accuses Protestants do with the Bible, he is placing his own interpretation on Trent.

As for the BoC, most "Evanglicals" don't even know that the BoC is. Most "Evanglicals" are ahistoric that they really don't understand the Reformation.

L P Cruz said...

Yes Steve,

One would think that an Evangelical with such academic awareness would have known what the BoC is. He mentioned the JDDJ, again for such a professor, he would or should have been aware why the confessing Lutherans rejected such document.


Anonymous said...

Another way to understand Dr. Beckwith's comments is that he is not referring to the portion from which you are quoting, which is talking about final justificaiton not initial justification (or regeneration). Remember that Trent is a document penned long before the current age, employing vocabularly in ways what are not common usage today. So, I suggest you read it with a bit more charity.

Also, I suspect that Beckwith is not saying that the Protestant and Catholic views are identical. He admits as much in his blog post on Right Reason when he refers to the Reformed and Catholic views as different. What he is saying in his interview quoted here is that the Catholic view may not be the Protestant view, but the Protestant view on the Catholic view is a caricature.

I think that's the most charitable and accurate way to read Beckwith.

L P Cruz said...

Firstly, that initial/final justification is not a Protestant distinction, that is an RC category.

My point is very simple. Beckwith belives X as an evangelical. He was taught that the RCC believes Y. The he discovers this is not true, RCC does not believe Y as represented by his evangelical communion.

Now there are 2 possibilities. Either RCC believes X also or RCC believes Z, but never Y (for he says it was a misrepresentation).

Either way Dr. Beckwith converts to RCC. Now what was this X he believed in? If RCC believes X already then his conversion is understandable, he believes X too. If Z is what RCC believes and he believes in X, then this is an strange scenario. But what is this Y he is talking about represented to him by Protestants? Y has got to be NOT X.

What am I saying? He has always been in theology RC, though in the middle of his years he thought he was otherwise. Or in his eyes, there is no more need for the Reformation, the RCC has reformer already.