|'To best understand where protestants are coming from, please take time to read their confessions - Augsburg & Concord also Heidelberg Cathechism/ Belgic Confession or the London Baptist/Westminster Confessions of faith. Interacting with modern day evangelical may be fruitless because most evangelicals are non-confessional. I know they are anti-catholic but one of their weakness is that they are non-confessional. I noticed that you a comfortable with evangelical protestants who became RC, however, my observation is that they are mostly non-confessional in background. That is, their upbringing did not include systematic cathechising and their churches did not conform to a confessional standard( by enlarge). As a test, ask a modern evangelical if they know the difference between Law and Gospel. Ask them what is justification and sanctification as understood by Lutheran & Reformed. If they tell you they are born-again that is good, that is the result of the gospel but I am sorry being born again is NOT the gospel we are called to preach. Most non-confessing evangelicals have a lot in common with RC except that they do not have the sacraments and no bells and incenses as well as saints. For example their view of man is the same as RC, man has a free will that can at any moment can turn to God if man so pleases. That free-will according to most evangelicals is sovereign , that is, God will never alter that will and will hold it in respect for the rest of eternity. For them man can create faith at any moment in time, it can decide to believe. This is quite intuitive but confessional protestant view it different that is why for them the preaching of the Law and Gospel is very important because that is how God creates faith.'|
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
A friend of mine sent me this email which I post here so it can be discussed amongst other people (should a few trickle in by chance):
One of the realizations I've had in my interaction with Evangelicals was that they operated on a completely different paradigm, with its own ontology. I drew a diagram several months ago shortly after I realized this and came up with four levels : Scriptures > Reformer's Confession > Pastor > Evangelical.
Strangely enough, it also applies to Reformed Protestants, except that the latter are more explicit about the confessions they follow. Evangelicals don't necessarily subscribe to this or that confession but are nonetheless heavily influenced by specific Reformers, e.g., Calvin, Luther, Zwingli, etc.
Personally, as a Catholic, my faith system also involves four levels: Deposit of Faith > Tradition/Catechism > Bishop/priest > me. Deposit of Faith to a Catholic is the totality of what St. Paul tells us as traditions "by word or letter" which he tells us to hold fast to. Indeed a great mass of such traditions were eventually written down in what is our New Testament, but a great portion was not. As Rev. Henry Graham writes in Where We Got the Bible, the New Testament works were not meant to codify everything. The epistles in particular were written in response to specific situations -- exactly in the same way that dogmas of the Catholic Church are developed as the need arises. You may have seen this money quote before: "the dogma is the drama," apparently written by Dorothy Sayers. I've also seen, I believe, a variation of this as "the drama is in the dogma."
I have to end right here, but I do expect some colorful reactions to my impressions on how faith systems of Evangelicals/Protestants and Catholics are layered in similar structures. How dare this Catholic upstart compares his papist faith system with that of the faithful Christians of Reformed/Evangelical confessions? Indeed I do, but I am only being honest in what I perceive.