Sunday, February 22, 2009

Catholic-Protestant Dialogue

I am reminded, and just wanted to think aloud about this for a minute - that frequently Catholic and Protestant dialogue breaks down and ceases to be productive when the issue of "sola scriptura" is not resolved.  As long as one side comes from the view that only the scriptures can tell us this or that (and usually involved in this view is that ones personal interpretation dictates what those scriptures ARE saying) and the other side holds that the Church is really the guardian of the truth, then it is hard to really discuss any other topics in great detail.

A similar situation happened one time when I was trying to study with a Mormon.  He wanted to talk about hundreds of issues, but I continued to say that unless we resolved whether or not the Book of Mormon held the authority of Sacred Scripture, then we would have a really hard time discussing things.

On the flip side of that, sometimes we should start discussions by talking about all the similarities between the two groups.  One way I like to study with Protestants is by reciting the Nicene Creed so that we have a huge bounty of issues that we can agree on, then try to get to the question of why we believe it. All in all, however, I really believe that the binding authority of scripture, the Church, or other sources has to be worked out in order to have a real fruitful discussion.


mel said...

Reciting the Nicene Creed right along with you and yours....

and I have in the plan to take the kids to an interfaith Ash Wednesday service at the local RCC.

Continuing in that prayer in John 17....and contemplating Lent.

God bless.

Maggie said...

This [sola scriptura vs. Scripture + Tradition] was a huge point of contention between me and several Protestant friends when I was on my way into the Church. I agree though- in Nicea we can find unity.

M. Carol Coffey said...

Why do Protestants and Catholics have any bones of contention? In 2008 I visited a number of Protestant fundamentalist churches because I was looking for an indepth bible study. I believe the Bible is the word of God (no if ans or buts). Many of the church members and ministers were sweet people caring people but every chance they got they had to beat up on the Catholics. This turned me off. At one study group I told the minister I was writing a mystery book for middle graders and the prayer of Saint Francis would be included. I read the prayer and the minister and all agreed that this prayer is one of the most blessed ever written. Yet, the class had just about agreed that Catholics were not 'real' Christians. I packed up my bags and left. Why can't we enjoy our differences? We all love Jesus and we all love God. Do you think God likes all this bickering between his churches? Can you name a Protestant church that is not playing this anti-Catholic card.

Adamgv said...

Check out this new Catholic band that just released their first album.

From what I heard on the samples site, they sound really good.

Introducing the new Christian National Anthem: Guns & Jesus.

haithabu said...

M. Carol Coffey asked: Can you name a Protestant church that is not playing this anti-Catholic card.

A.: The Mennonite Church is more distanced from The Catholic/Protestant dichotomy because it has historically had unfortunate experiences with both the Catholic and the Reformed churches. While its source of authority is technically sola scriptura, Mennonites tend to be strongly motivated by tradition as well. The Mennonite understanding of salvation is much closer to the Catholic view than the Reformed position; it is seen as inextricably linked with what we call discipleship.

An early quote:
"Christum vermag niemand waehrlich zu erkennen; es sei denn, dass er ihm nachfolge im leben."

[No man may know Christ except he follow him in life.]

With their emphasis on withdrawal from the world, adherence to a common rule of life and simplicity in lifestyle, sociologically the Mennonites have traditionally been more like a religious order whose members are allowed to marry than like a Protestant-style denomination. One of their earliest leaders had in fact previously been a Benedictine prior.

~Joseph the Worker said...

Very interesting. Thanks for the info.