Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Whoa! I Know Theology!

As I mentioned in a comment under a previous post, life is way easier in Rome or Wheaton than it is here in Geneva. While we con-fessional Reformed folk have to spend our energy searching the Scriptures, the Catholic can simply believe whatever he is told without having to engage in a bunch of critical thinking, while the evangelical stopped thinking critically a long time ago (he's too busy living his best life now).

There is, however, one really momentous decision that a Catholic is permitted to make on his own, namely, whether or not he wants to be permitted to make any more momentous decisions on his own. You see, once he swallows the red pill of apostolic succession, the Catholic has, for all intents and purposes, answered every question he will ever be asked, and has (implicitly) understood every verse of the Bible that has ever been written.

(You know, like Neo learning Kung-Fu by means of an instantaneous upload to his brain.)

Now I don't want to be dismissive of my new Catholic readers and their views, especially since if their major premise is in fact true, then I'll be the first to trade in my Geneva gown for one of those cool pointy hats. Make no mistake about what I'm saying: if the Roman Catholic Church is the church instituted by Jesus, whose authority was handed down to infallible apostles who then handed it down to infallible bishops to the present day, then we Protestants are pretty much $¢®εwεd.

So how do we answer this question?

According to the Reformed doctrine of Sola Scriptura (Tradition 1), the Bible is the church's book and must be interpreted communally according to the hermeneutical boundaries of the regula fidei (that much, at least, is established). But in order for this claim to have any force we must answer the question of the hour, "Which church? Where is it?"

If any one church claims that it is the only true communion because it is most faithful to the Bible (Protestants) or to the tradition of the fathers (Catholics), then subjectivism ensues, for the question arises, "To whose interpertation of the Bible or the fathers are you the most faithful?" The answer will always be the same, "Our own."

To escape this vicious circularity, we must insist that Christ's one invisible church is scattered throughout various branches, some more and some less healthy than others. It is to this church, both universal and local, that the Holy Spirit bears witness to the Word of Christ. And it is in this church that Christ's Word is interpreted according to the apostolic rule of faith.