Ecclesial Arrogance

Francis Beckwith, formerly the president of the Evangelical Theological Society has recently joined the Roman Catholic Church. In his blog posts, he seems to view the move as no more dramatic than any other denominational change, say from Presbyterian to Methodist. He still considers himself an Evangelical.

Responses have been along the expected spectrum. But one kind of response, from other Catholics, has been surprising: “Congratulations on your return to the one holy and apostolic Church.”

Theological differences aside, arrogance like this is the greatest single cause of division among Christians. There is but one holy catholic apostolic church, and it includes *all* of us.

4 thoughts on “Ecclesial Arrogance”

  1. Well, that’s tricky. How can this one holy catholic apostolic church differ so dramatically on various teachings? Either, say, Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist or not.

    Further, your post reveals an impoverished understanding of faith, and one that the apostles themselves and those in the first generation of Christians would not recognize. Faith was not a self-generated identity. It was, among other factors, an assent to a body of truth about God and reality. Early Christians spent a lot of time teasing out these issues and trying to accurately express the truth. How can, say a hard-core King James only church (with all that entails) said to share an essential identity as the “one holy and apostolic church” with an Episcopal church whose lesbian priest is praying to Mother God?

    Please. Sounds nice, but in reality, it makes no sense.

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  2. It’s an awfully short post to reveal “an impoverished understanding of faith.”

    Of course I understand that there are certain true tenants of Christianity which have to be accepted to be a member of the “true church.” But the Roman Catholic church doesn’t have a monopoly on Nicea. Last I checked, Beckwith hadn’t made any adjustments to his theology that would have made him any more or less in agreement with any traditionally accepted creed. He’s accepted some ecclesial arguments, and with them have certainly come some theological adjustments. Most Protestants probably wish he had not made the choice he did; many probably think it was rather a step in the wrong direction. Very few of us (I hope) assume that in changing denominations, Beckwith has thereby lost his salvation. Those of us who are the least bit familiar with the Roman Catholic church simply know better. But apparently some Roman Catholics think he has only just gotten saved.

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  3. Is it just more or does anyone else find it funny that someone would respond to a post about spiritual pride with a comment stating that you have an “impoverished understanding of faith.” In effect challenging you to come up to their level of understanding.

    Quite funny indeed.

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  4. Mistakes in theology, notwithstanding [and I strongly suspect we all have a few]and despite various counterfeits following a “different Jesus” who Jesus, Himself, described as ravenous wolves. Jesus, who is the Christ, is building His church. It is holy and it is catholic [i.e. universal in extent; involving all] and the gates of hell have yet to prevail against it.

    I don’t know about your impoverished understanding of faith but someone appears to have a limited understanding of language….and of scripture. Yes, we are conflicted wtih different understandings within this holy, catholic church. We’re still being built up and have yet to reach that unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God. We are most definitely not yet mature and have yet to attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

    “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called — one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all….It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ….From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

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