Some interesting things I’ve been reading from around the web:
From Christianity Today, “Amish Grace and the Rest of Us”:
We often assume that humans have innate needs in the face of violence and injustice. For instance, some who said that the Amish forgave Charles Roberts “too quickly,” assumed that Amish people had denied a basic human need to get even. But perhaps our real human need is to find ways to move beyond tragedy with a sense of healing and hope. What we learn from the Amish, both at Nickel Mines and more generally, is that how we choose to move on from tragic injustice is culturally formed. For the Amish, who bring their own religious resources to bear on injustice, the preferred way to live on with meaning and hope is to offer forgiveness—and offer it quickly. That offer, including the willingness to forgo vengeance, does not undo the tragedy or pardon the wrong. It does, however, constitute a first step toward a future that is more hopeful, and potentially less violent, than it would otherwise be.
From Covenant-Communion and Fr. Tony Clavier “A New Baptismal Theology?”
Most of the contents of the bishops’ findings should not take up our time. One is reminded of a Dan Brown novel in which a hidden document reveals that everyone has been wrong or ill-informed until now, or at least the Seventies when suddenly and in America new light bursts forth. Indeed there’s not much difference in method here than in that found in the justifications for any of the other “nativist” religious movements which emerged in America in the 19th Century. Golden tablets may seem rather more romantic than the findings of lawyer bishops, who note that entirely new interpretations of Scripture now suddenly burst forth and new concepts of just what a Christian is emerge from a re-appraisal of baptism.
Discussion of the Federal Vision and New Perspective on Paul controversey in the PCA and OPC by a Lutheran…some good insights:
Now, imagine you are a TULIP Presbyterianism, and you want baptism to actually do something to the baptized baby. You want baptism to really be a “washing of regeneration” as Paul writes to Titus. And you want the visible communion of Holy Communion today to be in some integral sense part of the future communion of the wedding supper of the Lamb. Now you want these things because the Bible obviously says them. They are expressed in both major themes and concrete proof-texts. Peter Leithart mentions for example 1 Cor. 6:11, Gal. 3:28-29.
Unlike an Augsburg Evangelical or Roman Catholic, however, you don’t have the category of genuine apostasy. (More on this here.) You can’t say: this baptism was indeed a true baptism of the Holy Spirit, but unfortunately as an adult she rejected God’s grace and became an atheist. Or that when he was with us he was truly enjoying today communion with Christ in Holy Communion, but then he began living in adultery and his conscience was seared. As a Reformed, you can only say, they seemed to be Christians but really weren’t.
[Note: I think I would add Armenian/Anglican/Wesleyan to his list of Augsburg Evangelical and RC.]
From Reformed Catholicism, “You have to believe *something* and take a stand…”:
Something happened after the Reformers were gone, something really tragically bad. We all split apart into a thousand perpetually warring sects, each one of us forgetting our common roots as we increasingly narrowed our respective visions of “Truth” so that the word became a simple synonym for “Whatever we think.” Nowadays we can’t even respectfully argue about what the Fathers meant because we’ve all inherited these vast polemical traditions that are purely self-justifying: Augustine is our guy, not yours, you filthy heretics. Nor can we even respectfully argue about what the Reformers meant: If Calvin was here today, he would certainly be a member of the PCA, you Institutes-twisting scum. Lift high the banner of Flacius, and let the very memory of Spener perish from the earth! Away with all cursed heretics!
Contrast this with theological discourse in the catholic Church before the Reformation. In order to become a master of theology you had to write a commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, a work chock full of an astonishingly diverse array of patristic citations–not, I note, citations of post-patristic people whose undies were all in a twist about Some Big Burning Issue that supposedly only they and whatever meager band of followers they had correctly understood. A bit earlier than Lombard, even, Peter Abelard had compiled a book of patristic sentences (Sic et Non) in which he stated that because of the tremendous diversity of the Fathers
All writings belonging to this class are to be read with full freedom to criticize, and with no obligation to accept unquestioningly; otherwise the way would be blocked to all discussion, and posterity be deprived of the excellent intellectual exercise of debating difficult questions of language and presentation.
Now if “this class” contains Augustine, it surely must contain Luther and Calvin!
[Note: a very good post with good insights put humerously.]
I’m off to write a bit about discipline in the Church. Enjoy.