A clarification of my position

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Matt Black, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. Matt Black

    Matt Black
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,141
    Likes Received:
    0
    ...or perhaps not, as my position currently is about as clear as mud :D

    1. I am not a Catholic

    2. I have no intention of converting to Catholicism at present given where I'm currently at theologically

    3. I was however raised a Catholic and have many Catholic relatives, including two uncles who are priests, one of whom used to be chaplain to the Pope. This makes for some lively family discussions! It also I hope keeps my abreast of current (as opposed to pre-Vatican II within which tradition I was largely raised) Catholic thinking and dogma.

    4. On page 3 of the thread "about the Catholic Church" (see page 2 of this forum), Bob Ryan asked a question about the Catholic Church's attitude to non-Catholic Christians. I did my best to answer that from a Catholic perspective but I should have made it clear that that was the Catholic Church's POV not my own and I apologise for any confusion caused by my lack of clarity.

    5. I have however in recent months undergone something of an epistemological shift in my theology, which is still very much a 'work in progress'; some of this will have been apparent from my postings here, but for the sake of greater completeness, here's something I wrote earlier on another board:-

    "I am in the process of undergoing yet another seismic shift on my theology. There are several reasons for this, which I'd better set out as this will assist in you all evaluating where I'm coming from and - just possibly - where I should be heading. Until recently, I've been a fairly comfortable, sola Scriptura-believing, inerrantist-but-not-literalist, fairly-conservative-but-with-a-touch-of-post-occasionally evangelical who is a member of his 'local' Baptist Church; I've even preached there a couple of times in the last year. So what's the problem, what are my reasons for being dissatisfied with this set-up? Read on, dear friends (in no particular order of priority or importance)!

    1. When Mrs Black and I joined the church we're in, it drew its membership from a wide variety of traditions - eg: Anglican, Catholic, URC, Pentecostal, Brethren - as well as Baptist and accordingly, whilst it was part of BUGB, it had a rich denominational background and flavour to it; it also reflected to an extent Mrs Black's and my denominational backgrounds...which was nice. It has however in recent months become much more narrow in its Baptist ecclesiology and theology. It is not so much that those people from other traditions have left, rather they have been somewhat stifled, and Baptist ways have been imposed from on high, largely (so Mrs Black thinks - and I'm inclined to agree with her) as a result of the new minister making his mark on the place.

    2. The death of my grandmother in November. A devout Catholic, her death has caused me to re-assess my attitude to the Catholic Church in which I was raised and from which I departed sometime between the ages of 12 and 16. There's a lot of baggage associated with my Catholic upbringing which will probably prevent me from returning to 'Mother Church' wholesale; nevertheless, I am rediscovering (or perhaps discovering for the first time) good theological, ecclesiological and devotional aspects of Catholicism.

    3. The birth of my son in December - not so much his birth but, rather, 'what to do with him' now he's here vis a vis church/ religion etc. Normal practice at our church is to at some point in the near future to have a dedication. I have two problems with that however: (a) dedications at our church tend to be sandwiched or shoehorned into the main Sunday morning service as a bolted-on sideshow between the previous hymn and the next chorus; they last about five minutes, the minister (not the parents) says a few words and the the congregation stand to 'pledge their support' - some of these guys I don't know at all, some of them will leave in the next few years and most of them will have nothing to do with the Blacket's upbringing or supporting us, so it all seems a bit of a non-event to me; add to that the fact that Mrs Black's parents won't come because they're a variety of Exclusive Brethren and believe in infant baptism etc, and I think that whatever we do for him should be primarily a family thing, as they will be around to support us and him, unlike the local church, and you can see why I have my reservations; and (b) the fact that Mrs Black and I were baptised as infants (although both of us then went on to undergo 'believer's baptism' later), and my exploration of Catholic sacramentalism in #2 above, give me a strong desire to have the Little Lad baptised at home in some way ; sorry to sound vague but that could mean Mrs Black's dad baptising him or possibly one of my two priestly uncles - although I suspect they would have to do it 'the Catholic way' to which Mrs Black's parents might object; OTOH if Mrs Black's dad does it then my uncles might feel aggrieved... I should add that Mrs Black is much more firm a believer in believer's baptism, although she too is unhappy with the idea of dedicating Junior in the way described above, for the same reasons, and would like some kind of 'family' ceremony at home

    4. Spending too much time with fundamentalists , which has demonstrated to me in all its fulness the weaknesses of sola Scriptura amongst other things and led me to tentatively conclude that there is a need for some kind of communitarian teaching authority to interpret Scripture (although whether that equates to some kind of Magisterium is another matter); we are of course discussing that issue on other threads on this board.

    5. I'm attracted in particular by Renovare , as they have the sort of balanced approach to the Christian life which I crave, but I think the chances of my current church adopting elements of this given the recent shift in emphasis referred to in #1 are slim (we're just about to embark on a Lenten study of The Purpose Driven Life)

    So, any advice that you can give me on these points? Can I still be said to be an evangelical (never mind the 'post-' bit), given the above? Should I look to a 'Higher' Church tradition (Catholic? Orthodox? Anglican?) - and bear in mind it would have to be a family thing which means Mrs Black would need persuading? Or should I just quit whining and church-hopping, which seems to have characterised my Christian life to date, and knuckle down and accept that if I go to a Baptist church, then I sign up to the whole Baptist franchise, and get on with it? Should I talk to the minister, particularly about what to do with The Boy - and what if he brands me a heretic for thinking these things? "

    With all of the above in mind, despite the fact that I still attend and am a member of the said Baptist Church about which I whinged above, I don't consider that it would be appropriate in all conscience for me to post in the 'Baptist Only' sections of this board. I do however look forward to, with your help, bouncing further ideas and questions off you all with a view to further developing my theology in the company of the saints who are here

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  2. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/532.jpg>Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2000
    Messages:
    17,527
    Likes Received:
    0
    Matt,

    I am curious as to why you are clarifying this for us. There are several Catholics who are members of the board. What difference does it make?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  3. Matt Black

    Matt Black
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,141
    Likes Received:
    0
    Because quite a few BB posters have mistaken me for a Catholic in recent weeks.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  4. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/532.jpg>Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2000
    Messages:
    17,527
    Likes Received:
    0
    So?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  5. Matt Black

    Matt Black
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,141
    Likes Received:
    0
    So I want to set the record straight and disabuse them of that notion

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  6. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/532.jpg>Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2000
    Messages:
    17,527
    Likes Received:
    0
    ok.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  7. Matt Black

    Matt Black
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,141
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks. I just wanted to avoid any further misunderstandings and upset...and also to ask that people bear with me prayerfully as I seek the Truth and try to thrash out the issues with them that concern me.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  8. Melanie

    Melanie
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2002
    Messages:
    2,779
    Likes Received:
    5
    I am sorry that you feel the need to clarify your religious orientation Matt. Perhaps folk should click the profile button more often.

    OR read a thread note written all the way through, as I did with your notes. I know most folks on this board would be incensed if they were labelled Catholic for example, or in my case being Catholic as a Non-Christian.

    Pax vobis

    BG
     
  9. BobRyan

    BobRyan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    30,837
    Likes Received:
    4
    Matt I have asked you to "define" the alternative to "sola scriptura" and I have SHOWN how the RCC has "made it work" over the centuries.

    In the end - if you would spend time "on the details" you will see why God's method is the best one.

    Your only response has been to point out the hierarchical nature of the NT church. However I have pointed out that the NT church was considered "a sect of Judaism" a SINGLE denomination if you will so "AT BEST" you are showing hierarchy WITHIN ONE denomination (as your argument) while trying to promote a CROSS denominational Pope (As if there was a single source for BOTH orthodox Jew AND Christian Jew that BOTH would have yielded to in the NT age).

    But in fact apart from the sword of the RCC and its claim for infallability - you have no other historic model for a CROSS denominational means to coerce faith/belief/doctrine against one's "Convictions" about what the Bible actually says.

    And there is NO model for going to God in the judgment and saying "I believe this error because my priest TOLD me to - so take it up with HIM".

    Surely as a non-Catholic (at whatever level you are non-Catholic) you still see these points clearly.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  10. Travelsong

    Travelsong
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    To the OP:

    My guess is that you are unhappy with a dead church. I know the feeling.

    Where does one strike the balance between sound doctrine which usually goes hand in hand with minimal eye contact and assigned seating, and a church stressing brotherly love which often goes hand in hand with shallow teaching and emotionalism.

    There's problems in any church, and rather than rationalizing what you can do to make your church fit your theology, try asking God to show you how He can use you wherever you are. We need to live by example and become the change we wish to see.
     
  11. BobRyan

    BobRyan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    30,837
    Likes Received:
    4
    I think it is more than that. This is a person that came out of the RCC and still feels the call of the "mother church" and even sees that there are in fact good arguments for what the RCC is saying.

    This is not a "Baptist doctrine is right but I am thinking about the RCC anyway due to sentimental reasons alone" OP. Nor is it a "my church is boring so I want to be Catholic" OP.

    The "motivators" are the birth of a child and the death of a close relative that makes one "think" about "what really happens" when you die and "what really happens to an infants soul at baptism". IF there really is "substance" to what the RCC is saying - then simply consoling them about getting to a more entertaining and "vibrant" church wont work since the person is actually saying "I think there might be validity to some of the things the RCC is saying".

    This is interesting - because if someone is actually "paying attention to the details" of what has been going on here with the RCC and non-RCC posts - that should not be happening.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  12. steaver

    steaver
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2004
    Messages:
    9,005
    Likes Received:
    82
    Hi Matt,

    I personally believe that your feelings are healthy ones. It comes with the desire of wanting to learn the correct teachings and then following it in hopes of honoring God.

    Anyone who desires to read the scriptures and seek God apart from yielding to whatever the denomination or ism teaches will always have this struggle within. I believe it is a good thing because it scrutinizes the Word and brings to the surface the fruit of that Word.

    I have only one label and that is Christian! I do not yield my mind to all of Baptist theology although I believe they have done a good job of rightly dividing the word of truth. On the other end of the measuring rod I see catholicism has done a poor job of rightly dividing the word of truth. This I have concluded after studying the scripture for myself and praying to God for wisdom and understanding. This does not mean that God has taught me the correct position on every topic. Some positions I hold loosely because I have not yet been convicted otherwise even though I argue in their defense occasionally. I actually argue them in order to strengthen them or abandon them. If I live to be a hundred I will still not know the half of it. In fact I believe that in most cases God gives wisdom in different areas for different children according to His purposes. We are His workmanship.

    I believe that the number one thing catholics enjoy about yielding to the "mother church" is that they can feel a sense of "not guilty", however false that may be, that come judgment day they can pass any wrong doing concerning doctrinal positions on to the hiarchy.

    Catholics (lay people) must blindly accept the interpretations of the Church even if theses interpretations tend to change throughout history, they still must accept them because God has placed them in charge just like the Pharisees were over Israel.

    So if you chose to jump in with both feet into the Baptist theology your struggle will end as it will if you embrace catholicism. If you chose to just be a Christian and embrace only the Word of God, then you will continue with many of us in our struggles to siff through the meat and the bones while doing our best to be of service in a body of believers in some fashion or form.

    The easy thing about embracing a label is that you can stop seeking the truth and just live by what that label teaches. However appealing this might seem, I am afraid it will be only a form of laziness before God and carry much weight at our judgment. For we are commanded to study and divide the word of truth. That is written for every born again Christian, not just the higher thinkers!

    Think about how easy it would be to just believe what the interpretations of your ism or denomination teaches and go about your way. No struggles just do what the preacher says and in the end you can blame him for your life!

    One last thing about your son and the dedication. Whether it be an infant baptism by the catholic church or a walk up and down the ilse of a baptist church, it will only matter to God that you personally have dedicated this child to Him and that carries a heavy responsibillity to raise him up daily in the ways and word of the Lord, not merely through words but through your life as an example to him. You can do that alone without any priest or preacher. I do like the baptist way because there will be a remnant within any body who will write that childs name down in their bible and pray for him always. You are right that not all will, but some will and that is good enough for me. With catholic infant baptism, they believe that the act itself somehow helps the child in it's life when in reallity it carries no merit at all. Dedicate your son with your heart and it doesn't hurt to have a congregation know of your intentions and I am sure a few of them will pray and help as he grows towards coming into that saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

    God Bless!
     
  13. Travelsong

    Travelsong
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    Bob, This is a man who wants to know the will of God in his life. Judging by the description of dedication ceremonies at his church, I can sympathize with his dissatisfaction.

    I wasn't so much concerned with the Sola Scriptura argument, but rather the issue which to me seems at the forefront: The need to belong to a local body of believers who support and exhort one another in Godly love and instruction.
     
  14. BobRyan

    BobRyan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    30,837
    Likes Received:
    4
    1. When Mrs Black and I joined the church we're in, it drew its membership from a wide variety of traditions - eg: Anglican, Catholic, URC, Pentecostal, Brethren - as well as Baptist and accordingly, whilst it was part of BUGB, it had a rich denominational background and flavour to it; it also reflected to an extent Mrs Black's and my denominational backgrounds...which was nice.

    It has however in recent months become much more narrow in its Baptist ecclesiology and theology. It is not so much that those people from other traditions have left, rather they have been somewhat stifled, and Baptist ways have been imposed from on high, largely (so Mrs Black thinks - and I'm inclined to agree with her) as a result of the new minister making his mark on the place.

    2. The death of my grandmother in November. A devout Catholic, her death has caused me to re-assess my attitude to the Catholic Church in which I was raised and from which I departed sometime between the ages of 12 and 16. There's a lot of baggage associated with my Catholic upbringing which will probably prevent me from returning to 'Mother Church' wholesale; nevertheless, I am rediscovering (or perhaps discovering for the first time) good theological, ecclesiological and devotional aspects of Catholicism.

    3. The birth of my son in December - not so much his birth but, rather, 'what to do with him' now he's here vis a vis church/ religion etc. Normal practice at our church is to at some point in the near future to have a dedication. I have two problems with that however: (a) dedications at our church tend to be sandwiched or shoehorned into the main Sunday morning service as a bolted-on sideshow between the previous hymn and the next chorus; they last about five minutes, the minister (not the parents) says a few words and the the congregation stand to 'pledge their support' - some of these guys I don't know at all, some of them will leave in the next few years and most of them will have nothing to do with the Blacket's upbringing or supporting us, so it all seems a bit of a non-event to me; add to that the fact that Mrs Black's parents won't come because they're a variety of Exclusive Brethren and believe in infant baptism etc, and I think that whatever we do for him should be primarily a family thing, as they will be around to support us and him, unlike the local church, and you can see why I have my reservations; and (b) the fact that Mrs Black and I were baptised as infants[/b] (although both of us then went on to undergo 'believer's baptism' later), and my exploration of Catholic sacramentalism in #2 above, give me a strong desire to have the Little Lad baptised at home in some way ; sorry to sound vague but that could mean Mrs Black's dad baptising him or possibly one of my two priestly uncles - although I suspect they would have to do it 'the Catholic way' to which Mrs Black's parents might object; OTOH if Mrs Black's dad does it then my uncles might feel aggrieved... I should add that Mrs Black is much more firm a believer in believer's baptism, although she too is unhappy with the idea of dedicating Junior in the way described above, for the same reasons, and would like some kind of 'family' ceremony at home

    4. Spending too much time with fundamentalists , which has demonstrated to me in all its fulness the weaknesses of sola Scriptura amongst other things and led me to tentatively conclude that there is a need for some kind of communitarian teaching authority to interpret Scripture (although whether that equates to some kind of Magisterium is another matter); we are of course discussing that issue on other threads on this board.

    5. I'm attracted in particular by Renovare , as they have the sort of balanced approach to the Christian life which I crave, but I think the chances of my current church adopting elements of this given the recent shift in emphasis referred to in #1 are slim (we're just about to embark on a Lenten study of The Purpose Driven Life)
    [/quote]

    Peter (Pope Peter to some) said "Corresponding to that - BAPTISM now SAVES you - NOT the magical sacremental touching of water to the flesh - BUT The APPEAL TO GOD for a CLEAN CONSCIENCE!"

    How in the world will "Junior" make that "appeal" without holy water, without the magic of a sacrament where someone else has the power (as only the priest does) to change the soul???

    If that is not the point - then indeed - what you do with the infant is nothing more than a "dedication".

    The problem is that Matt's church has changed to be less Anglican and less Catholic to more specifically "Baptist".

    Each person will stand or fall for himself before the Throne of God. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.

    Either tradition and superstition as taught by the RCC is correct - or the scriptures are correct -- it can not be both ways.

    Time to make a choice I think.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  15. BobRyan

    BobRyan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    30,837
    Likes Received:
    4
    How does the Renovare define their idea of "Communion of saints"??? Is it the same as the RCC term?

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  16. Travelsong

    Travelsong
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    What's your point Bob? Shoving your obviously superior wisdom down everyone's throats will bring them to the light? Is this a precept witnessed of the Holy Spirit? Keep your ground shaking life or death approach to yourself. Show me the way you live makes you a happier more fulfilled person than I. I will follow naturally.
     
  17. BobRyan

    BobRyan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    30,837
    Likes Received:
    4
    I am merely pointing out "the key details" in the OP indicate that Matt seeks something MORE than "a group of happier/clappier Christians".

    There are "real questions" in the OP that do not go away just because Matt finds a "happier Baptist". In fact the "detail" given is that the very FACT that the group is Baptist and not some blended amorphus "mix" that includes some piece of Catholicism is part of the trouble for Matt.

    When someone is asking hard questions - listing serious points and looking for real answers - the solution is "seldom" found in the form of fining a happier group with the same beliefs that are being questioned in the first place.

    But sometimes - for some people that is exactly what they are looking for. I just don't see that in the "details" posted in the OP.

    If you find that offensive - I am sorry.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  18. Matt Black

    Matt Black
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,141
    Likes Received:
    0
    Guys, I'm not after a 'happier, clappier' group or church - I've done my time in the charismatic movement! Nor am I into pinning my colours to a particular denominational mast - whether it be Baptist or Catholic - and then kissing my brains goodbye to embrace a life of blind subscription to that denomination's teaching; what I am trying to do is work through a whole host of issues theologically and arrive at some conclusions based on Scripture and also how that Scripture has been interpreted over the centuries by the body of believers; my choice of church 'setting' will then be based on those conclusions if that is possible. This is therefore much more of an epistemological quest and journey for me than a desire for a 'feel good factor'.

    What I like about Renovare is that it takes what is good from the various Christian denominations and traditions and seeks to intergrate them into daily living. Bob, I guess Renovare would define the communion of saints as all Christians wherever they are. That chimes in well with me in my yearning for a consensual approach to Scriptural interpretation and church practice, in so far as that is possible

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  19. BobRyan

    BobRyan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    30,837
    Likes Received:
    4
    Matt - thanks for the explanation. In the RCC the term "Communion of Saints" includes the idea of praying to the dead and asking them for help. I was just curious as to what Renovare meant by the term.

    Question. In your quest to get your questions answered based on scripture - how are you going to do that if the first question to be answered is - "who will tell me what scripture is really saying?".

    Just curious.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  20. Matt Black

    Matt Black
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,141
    Likes Received:
    0
    See my other threads in this forum! :D I agree that I have far more questions than answers but I do believe that, to quote Mulder and Scully (and, no, that's not two more books in the Apocrypha [​IMG] ) "The Truth is out there".

    Renovare I'm pretty sure don't mean that; but I would think they do include the thoughts, words deeds and writings of all Christians thoughout history, most of whom are of course dead

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     

Share This Page

Loading...