Tuesday, January 22, 2008

In case you wake up not knowing "what" you are

Sometimes I am not sure which is a worst scenario, waking up not knowing "who" you are or waking up not knowing "what" you are! A long time ago, I posted on Fr. Neuhaus' conversion from Lutheranism to RCC here. Dr. Ichabod, calls this "Lutheran poping", I call those doing that "Lutheran popesters" but as I mentioned earlier, it sounds like a rude word in Aussie slang so "poping" it is. Ayayay, we human beings are into taxonomy since day one.

Here is a quote found here:

Mine was a decision mandated by conscience. I have never found it in his writings, but a St. Louis professor who had been his student told me that the great confessional Lutheran theologian Peter Brunner regularly said that a Lutheran who does not daily ask himself why he is not a Roman Catholic cannot know why he is a Lutheran. That impressed me very deeply. I was thirty years a Lutheran pastor, and after thirty years of asking myself why I was not a Roman Catholic I finally ran out of answers that were convincing either to me or to others. And so I discovered not so much that I had made the decision as that the decision was made, and I have never looked back, except to trace the marks of grace, of sola gratia, each step of the way.
Many people are in Wittenburg for various reasons. Some are in it not because they could identify with Martin Luther's agony while he struggled to find a gracious God, a God he could love. Some never had a crisis of anxiety for their souls so they can not identify with Luther. For example if you are an Evangelical burnt out by the bum steer you got from evangelicalism where can you go without being an RC? Where can you go and get the comfort of being in a sense "catholic" and "historic" without being Roman? Being orthodox without being EO? And just recently with the discussion in the last post, might I say, being protestant without being Protestant? If you think I am describing an oxymoron, you just do not understand how accents work. (well may be one day one can invent, being a lutheran without being a Lutheran, who knows).

But that is the question, and Brenner is, I think right. Should you wake up one day not knowing why you are not an RC, then you'd better be one. Neuhaus turned Brenner's dictum around its head and he was eventually became honest and left to be RC (eventually, I say, because he splattered around that he was a "confessional" Lutheran, see how the bandwagon works? Oh BTW, most doing poping as Dr. Ichabod intimated, love the acceptability that the label "confessional" brings, hence caveat emptor). Now I am new to Wittenberg, but my suspicion is that being Lutheran because you do not like to be an RC does not answer the challenge Brenner brings. You can give philosophically cute answers but the question remains, why not?

Answering why you are a Lutheran, does not answer why you are not an RC. Answer the negative; answering the negative does not mean you have answered the positive, so answer the negative first. This has to be settled first and logically as a I said a negative does not imply the positive opposite of it. Example? If I say it is not -1, does it mean 1? No, it could mean -2, or what not. So answering why you are not an RC, is a good exercise.

My take is that if justification through faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone does not picture in the answer and is not the most important one, one can not find a better meritorious sacramental scheme than what Mother Church offers. One better be an RC.

I paraphrase what one wise thing Luther said: you can get all doctrines in Christianity right, you can get your liturgy right (go ahead be a Liturgical Gestapo), your blogging right, your vestments right, your genuflecting right, your raising the host right and your swinging the incense right and feel "really doing it catholic", but if you get this one wrong, then all of your added extras have just led you to being....stuffed.

I am sorry I am being argumentative lately but I can see why some folk want to see more apologetic/polemic works lately... a lot have been blogging and denouncing Evangelian madness of seeker sensitive, neo-legalistic what not-s but only a few have been speaking of the "poping" happening in the camp. Jesus said before you take a speck from your brother's eye, take the plank out first from yours (he even added "hypocrites" in the passage).

Matthew 7:
5You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.


Past Elder said...

I knew why I was not RC when I was still RC.

Or more precisely, I knew when I was still RC that I could not remain RC, and that on RC grounds alone, some twenty years before I would see Lutheranism as anything more than a misguided attempt to be Catholic without being Catholic.

The Roman church placed another faith in front of me, at points not only different than but opposite to, what it had placed before me earlier, all the while saying it was really the same thing. The new faith was false on the grounds of the old faith, which meant the old faith had to have been false too, therefore, other forms of Christianity being derivative, the whole thing was false. So, at the time I first encountered Lutheranism, which I had been around my entire life, but now concretely as I was about to marry a Lutheran, I was not Catholic and not Christian either.

So, my view of these Tiber swimmers is in that context. As a Lutheran, I may counter the claims of the RC church pre or post Vatican II, but added to that is what they find on the other side of the Tiber is, not even Rome! And I do not think they would swim the Tiber if Rome were still there; in other words, the whole phenomenon does not derive from the controversies of the 16th century, but from the new religion of Vatican II and considering it an organic unity with what went before.

This new religion is an even greater deceiver than the one it replaced: neither are catholic, and the current one isn't even Catholic. It is spinning wheels to rail against the 16th century RC church when an even greater false religion emerged from it in the 20th.

L P Cruz said...

P. E.

This is where your insight and experience should be heeded by those in the camp.

Now again, lest our RC friends think we are against them, they should know that you and I as former RCs now ex-RC know we can not trust the Magisterium, we know what they are capable of doing. We see it happen again and again, you being too aware of Pre-Vat to Post-Vat saw the difference.

I myself though being taught pre-vatican II ideas as a boy did experience in similar vain the struggle of Luther. I can identify with him. I came from a different route, I always remember Mother Church in pre-Vatican II terms.

Do you know how many times I would do the sign of the cross before I slept? I do not know if that is relevant but just to point the piety I practiced.

Anyway when I was sharing Biblical ideas with with a Filipina friend of the missus, she would counter --Ohh, that is why Vatican II da da da da da. Now I understand (after 20+ years, why).

I did not ring to me that they have changed, I was taught they can not change and do not change, there is nothing to change when you got it right already!

Anyway back in PI, I have seen RC priest take off their habit, change in to tie and suit, hold the Bible in the air like Osteen, should like Jimmy Swaggart Halelujah, highly emotive I add, then even preach on the rapture!

Try beating that...my cynical mind got in gear and translated his statements as saying ..."you do not have to leave, you want to be Pentecostal? You can do that right here", we are big we can provide it.

Now to lure those in the camp, you can be Lutherite too just do not take it seriously do it internally in private and you can have your cake and eat it too. You have the benefit of "label" and being a full pledged RC and if you want JBFA, well practice that in private, all are happy - you are in a win win situation, what can you loose?