Mere Christianity is Baxter’s phrase, and it is a Protestant concept. A Protestant can adopt it without giving away the store, but a Roman Catholic cannot adopt it without giving away the store. Now I am fine with asking Catholics to give away the store, but am not so fine with us being unaware of the fact that this is what we are in fact asking them to do.


I must be on vacation

Everything I read seems interesting, and worthy of comment.  Either everyone goes on vacation at the same time that I do, or I function more coherently with a little bit of rest.

Here’s five links, with some commentary:

  1. Polar Bears.  If you remember, a few years ago, polar bears got upgraded to protected status.  The story was that global warming was wiping out their habitat, which consists of ice floes.  Here’s an article on how Scientists count, and how easy it is to (mis)count them.  For instance, they only put radio collars on adult females because juvenile bears grow too fast and could choke on the collars, and the adult male bears necks are bigger than their heads.  It’s a common problem we have in the Army as well.
  2. Catholics usually make super-hero movies instead of zombie movies.  It’s because zombies are better left to people who don’t believe in purgatory.
  3. There’s a new concept floating around that it is impossible to unilaterally forgive somebody. One party has to forgive, and the other party has to receive forgiveness, repent, etc. You can see this concept at work in Salvation.  Nobody gets saved against their will, and nobody in hell will be allowed to offer the excuse that God should have just forgiven them instead of holding on to all that bitterness.  Presumably for God forgiveness ends in a restored relationship.

    But this makes me wonder what the right word is for this other stuff we’ve been pushing.  When you get mugged, and the next day you decide to write off the experience and offer the open hand to a fellow you will likely never see again, if that isn’t forgiveness in the Biblical sense, what is it?  For that matter, at the end of days, when God is judging the quick and the dead of all their deeds, and our hypothetical mugger comes up, having never repented, and the Lord of Heaven lays out a just sentence for all his crimes, do you stand up and say, “But Lord, I forgave him!”?

  4. It’s been a saying in my family for a long time that the best way to stifle a child’s love of reading is to put him in a primary or secondary English class.  Here’s a post that covers why.
  5. Last, a fascinating post on the trouble of translating mythological sounding words in scripture.  Are they Fauns or Jinn, or just plain old goats?  Well, it was fascinating until the part about Adam and Eve. That was just horrifying.

Doug Wilson on Roman Catholicism

  1. If the daughter of one of your parishioners desired to marry a committed Roman
    Catholic, would she be marrying “in the Lord?”
    She would be marrying inside the
    covenant. She would also be marrying unwisely and sinfully.
  2. John Calvin recognized a distinction between the individual and the institution;
    would you say that the Roman Catholic Church is a true church? (elaborate).
    the same way that an adulterous husband is a “true” husband, I would say that Rome is
    a “true” church. But in the same way that this same husband is being untrue, I would
    say that Rome is being untrue. Rome is still covenantally bound to Jesus Christ, and
    consequently she needs to stop cheating on Him. And incidentally, to acknowledge that
    a lying, cheating husband is still legally married is not to approve of the lying and
  3. Would you list some areas of deficiency within the Roman Catholic Church? Let me state it more strongly. These are not areas of deficiency—they are areas of
    covenantal rebellion. I would include on this list the idolatry of the Mass, Mariolatry, the
    worship of images, the papacy, their system of works/righteousness, purgatory, and
    much more.

This is strong language, I know, but I found it particularly helpful in dealing with the dilemma that Roman Catholicism is to Protestants. On the one hand, I think it is impossible to say with a former pastor of mine that the RCC is a “false religion.” A false religion knows nothing of Jesus Christ, or faith, or repentance. A false religion can’t sign on to the apostle’s creed, let alone the Nicene creed. yet the RCC happily does all of these and goes on to beckon protestants to return come in out of the rain. At the same time, Roman Catholicism partakes in all these creepy systems that seem to be totally at odds with the glorious lightness of the gospel. What do you call this thing? Covenantal rebellion might just be a good fit.