Episode 90: Catholic Questions and Answers

November 5, 2012

Featuring Matt Anderson and Ben De Bono

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5 comments on “Episode 90: Catholic Questions and Answers

  1. Michael Nov 7, 2012

    You are both rather sweeping in your respective dismissals of Reformation Day (Matt: “no one celebrates it’; Ben: “Yea, we did it, we ruined the Church.”) No doubt many Protestants don’t observe it, but some of us from traditions that do (sometimes – it is not mandatory or universal) tend to view it as an occasion to reflect on Christian unity rather than a pep rally for Martin Luther. When I was pastoring, I really wrestled with this question because my congregation attracted more than one disaffected, disgruntled Roman Catholics, who still identified as such even though the Church had hurt them quite a lot and they never darkened its doors anymore. Reformation Day is in itself no better or worse than any occasion for remembering an important historic event – it’s all about how you do it. Uncritical Protestant jingoism? No. Education about and appreciation for Reformation emphases? Yes.

  2. Michael Nov 7, 2012

    Re: Presbyterian/Reformed sacramental theology – In theory, we believe that there is the Real Presence of Christ; however, we do not locate the Real Presence either in the substance of the elements (Roman Catholicism, yes?) or “in, with, and under” them (a la Lutheran consubstantiation). Rather, we believe, when God’s people gather around the Table prayerfully and in faith, the Holy Spirit lifts us into the presence of the risen and ascended Christ. He feeds us with his Real Presence. The bread and wine/grape juice (fruit of the vine – exact form doesn’t matter for us) are the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist, but we don’t try to explain how. John Calvin said, “Now, if anyone should ask me how this takes place, I shall not be ashamed to confess that it is a secret too lofty for either my mind to comprehend or my words to declare. And to speak more plainly, I rather experience than understand it.” *(For more, see http://www.reformed.org/webfiles/antithesis/index.html?mainframe=/webfiles/antithesis/v2n2/ant_v2n2_presence.html).

    In practice, however, many Reformed and Presbyterian Christians are Zwinglians, who view the Lord’s Supper as an ordinance, devoid of supernatural action – it is something we do, and we alone, in remembrance of Jesus. Again, though this is the de facto view due to poor Christian education, it is not classic Reformed theology.

    Also, just wanted to state that I am (not was) an ordained Presbyterian minister (or, in my denomination’s current terminology, “teaching elder,” as opposed to “ruling elder”). I am not currently serving as a church pastor, but my presbytery (the corporate body that serves the function of individual bishops in our tradition) recognizes my writing of Christian education curriculum, as well as my other activities in churches, as a “validated ministry.” I wouldn’t bring it up except it matters that I still have my ecclesiastical credentials. Thanks.

  3. Michael Nov 7, 2012

    By the way, even though my comments may not sound like it, I did actually enjoy your conversation. 🙂

    I do have to go with Ben on the communion of and conversation with the saints (even though I don’t myself pray to the saints, and all Reformed-Presbyterian theology I know doesn’t encourage it, to say the least; nor would I reserve the title “saint” for those who’ve been canonized). Jesus said to the Saduccees who asked the trick question about the resurrection, “God is the God of the living, not the dead; for to him, they are all alive.” It is logical that death would not stop us from asking our brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for us, just as we do while they are alive.

    There are some Protestant monastic orders – e.g., http://www.ssje.org/, a great source to hear some strong preaching.

  4. Steve Walker Nov 8, 2012

    Guys, re the purpose of sex (i.e. within marriage) Malachi 2:15 says,

    “Has not [the Lord] made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.”

    Cheers, Steve

  5. Rhoetus Apr 7, 2014

    Howdy, guys, I enjoy your show….but (I’ll leave it there) Okay, so Reformation Day. As I go to a Baptist-ish church, we don’t celebrate it. However, I think you are missing the REFORM part of the Reformation. It wasn’t a call to break from the Catholic Church, but a call for the Church to reform its ways. re:indulgences and such. Not saying Luther was a terrific guy, but neither were David or Abraham or Paul outside of the LORD’s work. Which leads me to: I also think the Holy Spirit leads the Church, but how God works is often not the way we expect… such as Jesus didn’t come in on a horse, waving a sword to chase out the Romans… to me, it is just as likely that the Holy Spirit rounded up the remnant and drew them away from the Roman Catholic Church, with her additions to the Gospel, as it is for an Ecumenical Council to receive the Spirit’s inspiration. Or, if you don’t like that one, I find it just as likely that the Holy Spirit was leading the Eastern Orthodox and not the Roman Catholic during the Schism…either the Holy Spirit abandoned the eastern (half, two thirds?) of the Church, or It doesn’t work quite the way you think it does…such as when you had a Pope and an anti-Pope… oops. Speaking of which, why wouldn’t we give the current Pope the honorific of “Pope”? That is easy, he isn’t our Father… there is one Father, and he doesn’t reside in Rome, Avignon, Pisa or any other instance. (as He is omnipresent) Speaking of anti-Popes, the Western Schism would put an end to “un-broken” Papal succession, unless Gregory the XII was the real Pope, but then why would he have resigned? At least two of the claimants’ followers were not led by the Holy Spirit! Well, you could say, they fell into error and returned to the true Church. …again, see what the Reformation was all about. Now, lastly, Onan…the dude did not uphold his duty as a brother/brother-in-law, and that is why he was killed, not because he had sex without meaning to procreate (except that the procreation was the purpose behind that particular sex act in the first place) So, if sex is for procreation only, with a side of pleasure, what happens when a woman goes through menopause? Is she to stop having sex? If you would say that God could work a miracle and allow her to become pregnant, then you have to understand that no birth control method is 100% effective, so God could work a miracle through any of those too. As you (Ben) point out, the only 100% effective way of avoiding pregnancy is abstinence, and then why does Paul say that abstinence is a good thing? You have a conflict there… and with Priests and monks being celibate also, as they are willfully practicing the one thing guaranteed to keep God from making a baby.

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