Thursday, April 19, 2007

The God Fearin Fiddler Goes to Manila

So I have taken my addiction overseas – yes I am now officially an international blogger. Heres what I wrote on the plane:

On my way from Detroit to Nagoya, I sat beside a pastor & his wife who were on their way to Nagoya for a 2 week mission trip. Please excuse any redundancy or typos because im typing this on a laptop cramped in my coach seat.

This pastor was a PCA minister (or at least that’s the church he was going to work with). Doesn’t seem likely to be a coincidence. We didn’t talk for most of the way but during the final 3 hour stretch (which can be the worst) we struck up a conversation on why I had converted from the PCA to Roman Catholicism.

We touched on all the typical areas of disagreement and I thought it was a pretty fruitful discussion. We weren’t getting anywhere with sola scriptura of course. I just really cant figure that one out. Im no genius but Im no dummy either and I simply cant imagine any way for sola scriptura to be true – so it just utterly baffles me that anyone with a mind coherent enough to put a sentence together could believe such a thing.

Our main disagreement was on the Eucharist. He told me that he didn’t think that the early Church fathers were very explicit about it. So of course.. I got his email. Something tells me he’s gonna get a healthy dose of Ignatian quotes (toss in a little Justin Martyr, Irenaeus and Ambrose to top it off). That should be fun- but unfortunately I am sure he will find a way around the quotes. There are some Protestants who claim that Augustine was basically a primitive Calvinist –sola scriptura and all. Then again, if you can read John 6 and think Jesus is only speaking metaphorically it shouldn’t surprise us to see that you also misread the fathers.

He said something to me when I mentioned how much I respect the PCA & OPC. He said both of those denominations will eventually liberalize “they have a shelf life”. I said I know they will and that’s part of my point, One of the selling points for the Catholic Church for me has always been the fact that they’ve been around for 2000 years and have not liberalized. In fact, they are the only branch of Christianity (actually theyre the trunk) that has not liberalized on the issue of birth control. This speaks volumes.

He said – that’s the problem, they’re adding to Scripture and have thus caused a lot of abortions. We had an interruption at that point and I wasn’t able to respond but that logic is hopelessly erroneous. Stay with me here:

1. Prohibiting birth control causes more unwanted pregnancy
2. More unwanted pregnancy leads to more abortions
3. Therefore, prohibiting birth control causes more abortions

Do you see where this breaks down? It is logical but based on some enormous assumptions than can be readily dismissed as untenable. So lets just take one case study of an imaginary Catholic named Jane (shes married). Jane doesn’t want a baby but she wants to have sex. She would use birth control but she knows that the Church teaches against that and although no one would ever know, she must follow her conscience. Well she ends up being pregnant… so she murders the child.

Now what is wrong with this scenario? Anyone who is going to follow Church teaching behind closed doors on easily the most controversial moral law for Catholics is not going to publicly violate in a most heinous way a doctrine to which there is no real controversy – abortion is a grave evil period. Therefore it is completely false to say that the Church by prohibiting birth control causes more abortions.

The other thing he said (which ive heard before) is that 70% of the cardinals have petitioned the pope (and it will eventually happen) to include Mary in the Trinity. He told me he read it in a Newsweek article. I tried (to no apparent avail) to assure him how confident I was that his information was completely incorrect although I will try to find that Newsweek article and see exactly what it said. I told him that if that ever happens, I’ll fly to Houston and buy him dinner. But it wont. Well my plane is set to touchdown in Manila in 22 minutes so better wrap this up.

Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.


japhy said...

It is impossible -- dare I say, even with God -- to include Mary in the Trinity:

1) the Church has never taught that, so it can't be "defined" that way because it's never existed

2) the Trinity is Three Persons (hence the name): Father, Son, Holy Spirit

3) the Trinity, which is God, is not a creature; Mary is, and it has never been taught that Mary was anything other than a creature (chosen by God, but created nonetheless)

The day something like that is promulgated from the Vatican, I would probably travel there (on my flying pig) (making a stop in Hell during an ice storm) (on the third Wednesday of the week) with the whole Scooby Doo gang and pull the mask of the Pope to see who's really behind this all. Ruh-roh!

Tiber Jumper said...

God bless you GFF, you are now an international evangelist!!
How amazing that you can sit calmly with an intelligent Christian and tell him what the Church really believes but he insists on telling you what he KNOWS IS the TRUE FALSE doctrines!
I had a similar experience on easter eve with my brother in law who insisted that Catholic worship idols and use mary and St Peter to get to heaven instead of Jesus!
Despite my gentle quotes from Catechism, scripture, history etc, he was determined to tell me what the Catholic Church teaches and believes.
I am going to blog about a syndrome that occurs to intelligent but well meaning Christians that prevent them from hearing you as soon as you say the words "I am a Catholic."
Have fun in Phillipines!
And if you come back with a bride, make sure she is devout Catholic like you :)