Meany-head Genevanists: Who Said That?

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To the questions: Are the main differences between Reformed Christians and Roman Catholics the same today as they were in the 16th century? Which differences or disagreements have decreased since the 16th century? What are the most important diffrences remaining today?

Things are very different today. Our shared differences with those today who oppose the gospel as such are much more important than our own differing ways of emphasizing this or that element of the gospel. Many of us are also seeing that we sin when we ignore the great liturgical and spiritual practices traditions [sic] of Catholicism. And only the most fanatical and mean-spirited Protestants today will deny that Vatican II was one of the great spiritual and theological renewal events in the history of the universal church.

UPDATE:

 images

These words are from… 

Dr. Richard J. Mouw, a member of the delegation from the Presbyterian Church (USA) and Reformed co-chair of the current round of the dialogue, is president of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

The words come from a piece in the most recent CRC Banner magazine. The pic, by the way, is from a press conference for the Evangelical Manifesto.

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25 Responses to Meany-head Genevanists: Who Said That?

  1. John Yeazel says:

    Mark Noll- I think he is the one who also stated that we do not need a second reformation- the distinctions between Catholics, modern day Anabaptists and other varieties of Arminianism have become more complex and less clear cut then they were back in the 16th century.

  2. Zrim says:

    Not Noll. I’m aware of his dissent on the notion of a continued protest and of his signing of ECT, but the brash rhetoric doesn’t seem his style.

    Hint: this is a signatory of ECT.

  3. John Yeazel says:

    I’m trying to determine who uses the most “brash rhetoric” between Os Guiness, Charles Colson, Thomas Oden, J.I. Packer or Richard Mouw. I guess I would pick Charles Colson since he was considered Nixon’s henchman in his pre-conversion days.

  4. John Yeazel says:

    The distinctions between infused grace (what Catholics believe) and imputed grace (what reformational Christians believe) is something that has never been agreed upon by Catholics and Protestants and keep them separated. The Catholics at the council of Trent called condemnation upon those who believed in imputed grace and claimed it was a “legal fiction.” That and narrowing the sacraments of the Church down to 2 (by Luther and Calvin) of the 7 named by Thomas Aquinas. There are many other differences but those are critical to the debate.

  5. Todd says:

    John Armstrong?

  6. Zrim says:

    Not Armstrong.

  7. John Yeazel says:

    The quote seems more wimpy than brash- I am not sure why you think the rhetoric is brash in that quote

  8. Renee says:

    Zrim,

    You speak of ECT quite often. As a Catholic I have never heard of them. I checked out their site and there does not seem to be much to check out really. It appears to be a family site, and a mission statement of sorts claiming a united front of Catholics and Evangelicals. I am not saying that this could not exist, as I am learning anything is possible these days, I am just saying that no particular Catholic endorsement or references are given. Nor is an actual number of these Catholics and Evangelicals who have formed this ‘group’. It could be 2 people for all we know who just support the social doctrines of life. There is really nothing wrong with that. At least from where I sit.

    My son-in law ‘s family are Evangelicals, and I speak from personal experience they are not interested in Catholicism except to save Catholics from the Catholic Church. As a matter of fact when my son-in law began researching Church history in an attempt to ‘save’ me and my family, much to his surprise, he discovered he himself wanted to convert to Catholicism. This from a young man who previously spit upon a cherished family crucifix of mine just to prove to me that my reverence for the crucifix was idol worshiping. Needless to say that this has caused his family to go ballistic and frantically try to intercede and save him from both himself going to Hell and the evil Catholic Church. I have in the past received scripture quotes, evangelical magazines, anti-Catholic propaganda, you name it from my son-in laws family. I have nothing to do with my son-in laws views on Catholicism both before and present. I refused to be involved, because I knew it would divide his family, and I will never want that.

    My point?

    If there is such a thing as Evangelicals and Catholics together, I wish it would begin in my family. I have prayed for such a day when family gatherings could be just that family gatherings. I think my grandchildren would like that the most.

  9. Renee says:

    Disregard my first paragraph. I was not on the correct site. After posting I located the original ecumenical document.

    Maybe I should send it to my son-in laws family…

    What do you think?

  10. Zrim says:

    What do you think?

    Renee,

    I also have a religiously diverse family. In fact, maybe more so. I have WASPs as well as Catholics and funda-evangelicals. I am fortunate enough to also more or less enjoy very civil relations all around (no stalking or harassing of any kind). I descend from WASPs and Catholics, (skeptically) converted and (happily) married into broad evangelicalism, then happily found Geneva.

    What I have concluded over the years is that the Catholics and evangelicals have way more in common with each other than either do with this Reformed Protestant. Both would be shocked to hear that. Rome knows a spirituality characterized by the “still, small voice” which they call “spiritual discipline” and the evangelicals call it “the quiet time.” Pious Roman Christians routinely invite Jesus into their heart, read their bibles privately and pray, just like the good and observant revivalist. Both want to take back America for Christ and transform the culture (ECT). Most evangelicals are pragmatists when it comes to church polity, as is Rome. One lodges all authority in a Pope, the other in the individual. Sola ecclesia is basically the same as sola persona. My view is that what really distinguishes Roman Christians from fundamentalists is a high ecclesiology from a low one. That’s all.

    And, yet, my funda-evangelical sister-in-law metaphorically spits and swoons when news comes that a distant cousin has married a Catholic. It’s pure religious bigotry, if you ask me.

  11. John Yeazel says:

    The quote screams let’s just put away our doctrinal and ecclesiology differences and build unity around something other than the Word of God and the good news of the Gospel. It won’t happen and has been tried over and over again.

  12. Zrim says:

    The post has been updated with the answer.

  13. John Yeazel says:

    I want my black Habana cigar- or at least an invitation to the next Hoagie and Stogie get together in Grand Rapids.

  14. drollord says:

    “And only the most fanatical and mean-spirited Protestants today will deny that Vatican II was one of the great spiritual and theological renewal events in the history of the universal church.”
    -Is that universal with a capital “U”?
    -Has Mouw gotten a call from the “Called to Communion” mob?

  15. Renee says:

    Zrim

    “Both would be shocked to hear that.”

    Not necessarily both. I spent the better part of a year convincing my son -in law that I was a Christian, and the last two and half years he discovered that both Catholics and Christians, do have some things in common as do Catholics and Reformed, Lutherans, etc. It just depends on what those things are, thats all and of course who you ask. Regarding Doctrine and Authority of the Church Catholics have very little in common with everyone outside the Catholic Church, including Evangelicals as John said.

    This is a good thing..it secures our Catholic identity ,even though there are those who try to lump us together on doctrinal matters with others, again as John said it doesn’t work on paper but yet people (not the Church) individual members keep trying. Many may not like us or agree with us, but there are few who have not heard of us.

    “Both want to take back America for Christ”

    I do not agree with this statement in relation to Catholics. America never did belong to the Church or Christ, it was founded by you reformed dudes 🙂 so if America did belong to Christ or Christians, it was not the Catholics who declared it so. Also American Catholics make up a very small percentage of the Catholic Church and they surely do not speak for or repressent the United States on morals or God (for a Catholic to get elected, they have to be a ‘bad’ Catholic for goodness sakes), they respresent the Church as Paul and the Apostles did on moral or social matters which by the way do not change from country to country. The American Catholic Church is not concerned for America as a country but for those who can not speak for themselves, the smallest among us. Define that group how you will.

    “Rome knows a spirituality characterized by the “still, small voice” which they call “spiritual discipline” and the evangelicals call it “the quiet time.” Pious Roman Christians routinely invite Jesus into their heart, read their bibles privately and pray, just like the good and observant revivalist.”

    And this is bad? How? Protestants and Reformed members don’t do this? Wow..

  16. Zrim says:

    Renee,

    And this [grooming the interior life] is bad? How? Protestants and Reformed members don’t do this? Wow.

    Reformed theology, piety and practice is mainly characterized by an external set of categories. Like Luther told his introspective (and prone to gloom) friend, Melancthon, “Go and sin boldly–the gospel lies outside of you.” Reformed Christians believe in the interior life, but we aren’t necessarily concerned for it in the same way Roman and revivalist Christians are.

    The larger point of my comment was that Roman and revivalist Christians share a mainly internal spirituality over against the extrinsically oriented piety of confessional Protestants, not that Reformed don’t daily pray and read Scripture because we do. Heck, we have a little known tradition of worshipping God daily as families.

  17. Renee says:

    I understand your point Zrim and I agree to the extent that this is publicly what appears to others as a difference between Catholics and Reformed.

    “Reformed theology, piety and practice is mainly characterized by an external set of categories.”

    “Roman and revivalist Christians share a mainly internal spirituality over against the extrinsically oriented piety of confessional Protestants”

    I think there is a time and place for both the Reformed way and the Catholic and revivalist Christian way, and I think both are equally of value and necessary for spiritual growth. I think both camps practice both in various degrees.

    Balance is the key..I think. Not all or nothing.

    I think when Protestants and Catholics are viewed privately after you scrape away the surface paint, the Reformed and Catholics are equally spiritual both externally and internally, it is what we show to the world publicly that looks different.

    We must be different. Right? That is the whole point.

  18. Renee says:

    drollord,

    “Has Mouw gotten a call from the “Called to Communion” mob?”

    Mob? really..

    I think they are a group of very knowledgeable and educated ex-Reformed Protestants….but mob?

    I disagree. Unless you are using the British definition.

    Main Entry: 1mob
    Pronunciation: \ˈmäb\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Latin mobile vulgus vacillating crowd
    Date: 1688

    1 : a large or disorderly crowd; especially : one bent on riotous or destructive action
    2 : the lower classes of a community : masses, rabble
    3 chiefly Australian : a flock, drove, or herd of animals
    4 : a criminal set : gang; especially often capitalized : mafia 1
    5 chiefly British : a group of people : crowd

  19. Joy says:

    Whats not to love about VII? Its amazing how many liberal statements you can jam into its crevices.

    Yay, religiousity!! Go Religion!

    Go Religion! Go-Go Religion! Work! Work! Pray! Pray! Fast! Fast! Love! Love! Go Religion! Go-Go Religion!

  20. Renee says:

    Joy,

    Get over yourself already. Go Joy! Go Joy! Your so funny!!! Go Joy. Go!

  21. drollord says:

    Renee, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to clarify. I’m incorrigibly oriented to etymology. I always appreciate it.

    “Has Mouw gotten a call from the “Called to Communion” mob (read: group that is insidious)?”

    Thank you for the wonderful buffet of definitions. I’ll take some of this and that, and ooh a little of that too…

  22. drollord says:

    Zrim,
    Did you go to that Mouw vs. Engelsma debate on Common Grace a few years back?

  23. Renee says:

    Zrim,

    I appreciate the education that most of your posts have given me. I also would like to thank you for the open invitation to the Outhouse earlier. I think though I will be moving on now. I have learned that some Reformed such as yourself are secure enough in your beliefs that you do not have to resort to sarcasm and bitter immaturity to make points. The majority of responses I have received from my comments have been nothing more condescending and rude remarks.

    I am sure Protestants are happy and content in their prospective denominations and just enjoy the in-fighting amongst themselves as sport, but I am getting bored of it.

    At least when there is in fighting among Catholics the Church does have the final say and not the people. But with Protestants these types of things go on forever and ever. Unless someone like J. Gresham Machen (thank you Joy) founds another denomination.

    Take Care,
    Renee

  24. Joy says:

    I was commenting on Mouw’s quote. (Liberalism is ridiculous and sometimes mirroring it is revealing.)

    Renee,
    Had I wanted to aim my comment at you, I would have addressed you. I’m sorry you took it that way.

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