Tuesday, March 13, 2012

(Re)Imagining Christianity: Unity and Repentance

My post went live yesterday at Adam Walker Cleaveland's Pomo Musing. Here's the link:



  1. Kathy S.5:32 PM

    Clint -- I just read your post. I absolutely, totally agree with everything you said: we need Unity. Thing is, we already have a system for unity in place -- it's called the universal or catholic church. It has a central authority and a system for the development of doctrine. What more do you want?

    BTW -- it doesn't think itself "perfect" and doesn't think it has to "be right" if that's what you are implying. The Pope goes to Confession every week. Repentance.

    If you think I am trying to "hijack" this blog, please delete my comment. It seems to me that you are asking the right questions, and you are a very smart man.

  2. Kathy, in this case your comments aren't hijacking, they're definitely in line with the post. It just happens to be that this time I posted on a topic that you like to comment on in every thread. :)

  3. haha! true! I'm busted!

  4. Clint,

    I'm strangely torn about this. I do long for a truly catholic Church, but I wonder how it can be achieved. I've mentioned before that I've considered becoming Orthodox, but for the lack of a western rite church in my area.

    When In college I worked very hard to create a joint Lutheran Episcopalian service. The college I attended, although secular, gave the Romans time in the chapel every day at noon and on Sunday morning. The Lutherans and Episcopalian/Anglicans got one service each on Sunday evening. Even when it was time to celibate Ash Wednesday or the Triduum the Lutherans and Anglicans were told no while the Romans got extra time in the chapel. It seemed like an opportunity for the Lutheran and Anglican chaplains to band together seeing that they have a common catholic tradition, and are in communion with each other. Eventually it did happen, but, shortly after I graduated, one of the chaplains left, and the joint services were abandoned. The new chaplain felt a need to create a denominational identity on campus.

    The other side of the argument is I think that denominations are important, and I'll use my family as an example. my brother and I were raised LCMS. I no longer attend Lutheran church except on Reformation Sunday, Christmas Eve, and the rare occasion that a Lutheran Pastor asks me to assist for a specific service. My Brother has also left the Lutheran Church. He attends a Baptist Church. We have more in common theologically than not, but the way in which we express our relationship with God differs greatly. I long for tradition, my brother does not. I agree with Mark S. on another post (http://lutheranconfessions.blogspot.com/2012/03/prayers-of-church-for-lent-2.html#comment-form) where he states "I firmly believe that there’s room in Christianity for a wide range of expressions of our common faith."

    Rome seems to move farther and farther away from her roots. Evangelical Catholics are becoming more and more baptist...

    Without an Emperor who has the authority to call an Ecumenical Council? Kathy talks about Lutherans returning to Rome, but what about Rome returning to Orthodoxy? I just don't know.

    Thanks for your post.

    PS I'm neither LCMS nor ELCA. (as Kathy supposed me to be in another post) I'm not affiliated with any Lutheran Church. I consider myself to be either Evangelical Catholic, or a member of the Church of the Augsburg Confession.

  5. Erich -- Sorry I was confused. No one said this is easy. I think I will need to read your comment several times more before I understand it. It is complicated.

    I will say one simple thing -- read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Here is everything in black and white.

    You say: "Rome seems to move farther and farther away from her roots. Evangelical Catholics are becoming more and more baptist..."

    The Catechism will show you that this is not true.

    Kathy Suarez

  6. Erich -- I have some time now, and I read your comment again. "Orthodoxy" is a word that means different things to different people. The Greek Orthodox Church left Rome around 1000 AD. As for me, I stand on Mt 16:18 -- Peter the Rock. Did you know? -- they even discovered Peter's body under St. Peter's -- I saw the "Scavi" a couple of years ago.

    1. Kathy,

      I would like to clarify some of my vocabulary and statements. When I say Rome I mean Roman Catholic. When I say Evangelical Catholic I mean what most people would call Lutheran. It seems more respectful of what I believe the Lutheran Church to be. Orthodox, capitalized, refers to the Orthodox Church: The one that excommunicated Rome from the communion for going against counsel and adding the Filioque Clause. As I'm sure you know it was a slim minority of Church fathers that understood the person of Peter to be rock on which the Church would be built. The majority understanding is that it was Peter's confession of the Christ on which the Church would be built. This does seem to make much better theological sense to me.

      I have no doubt that a body was found underneath Saint Peter's in Rome, and I choose to believe that it is in truth the body of Peter, but I doubt the fact of the matter. The discovery of this body is no proof to me that the Pope is anything more than the First Among Equals.

      You encourage me to look to the Catechism of the Catholic Church to show me that Rome has not added doctrine in the 19th century (Papal Infallibility, Immaculate Conception). Please tell me where in this 846 page book I should look. I'm reminded of quotation in one of my copies of Luther's Small Catechism:

      “The Evangelical Lutheran Church is in reality the old original Church which came into existence on the day of Pentecost. Luther simply threw out the errors which had crept into the Church during the course of the centuries, and held fast the doctrines taught in God’s Word.”

      This was a little extra history lesson from Joseph Stump in 1907. Clearly he’s missed the boat, as this claim can be made by every one of the protestant denominations, catholic or not. I’ve even heard it from the lips of Evangelicals, or my favorite denomination: Non-denominational churches. The only one I cannot imagine making such a claim so explicitly are the Anglicans, but even there I’d bet you could find a priest or two with a similar view via some branch theory. Apparently the Magisterium can make similar claims.

      Kathy, I do not want to take up any more space here on Clint's blog, and I invite you to continue this conversation on my own blog. I'm sure you can find an appropriate post over there on which you can take up this topic.


      PS It may not seem like it, but I am absolutely in favor of a traditional and truly catholic Church.