Wednesday, August 30, 2006

An interesting analogy...

For many years, I wondered how on earth could the Roman Catholic Church claim that all the elements of Christ's Church can be found in the Roman Catholic one when it was plainly obvious that the Protestant community was the one fighting the good fight?

When it came to evangelism there was Campus Crusade for Christ, when it came to helping the poor there was mustard seed and Salvation Army, when it came to discipleship there was IVCF, when it came to fidelity in marriage there was promise keepers, when it came to fighting to allow the public to use the word "Christmas" at the end of December the Protestants were front and center. Protestants brought about the end of slavery in England and the end of burning widows in India.

This got explained to me a few months ago. Belonging to the Church that Christ founded is like having a Ferrari to drive in. Belonging to another one is like having a Pinto. And so to continue that analogy, the people driving the Ferraris are being beat on the racetrack by people driving the Pintos. You gotta admire the drivers.

Pax Tecum


kris said...

You remind me of my grade 12 science teacher who said, when comparing the smartest kid in the class who often decided to simply not hand in projects to those who spent countless hours just to get a "B", that in the long run it's better to be a ferrari in the driveway than a chevette on the highway.

It's interesting that you would make the same analogy with the life of faith.

I'm reminded of something Jesus said about the value of heredity and belonging to a certain lineage rather than doing what he said. I can't place it right now but I'll look up biblegateway and see what I find. ;-)

Dave King said...

What I admire are the mental gynastics that the RC has to do to divide the Church from the Body and Brotherhood of Christ. They really are elegant. JPII can call Billy Graham a brother but he's not in RC so they can't be the same thing. It's truely sublime.

Richard said...


Are you thinking of John the Baptist in Matthew 3:8-9? ("Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham).

There are many more passages like this. I think Jesus said that the people of his generation would suffer more on judgment day than the people of Sodom and Nineveh because of the difference between what was given and what was done.

Many prophets also told the people of Israel and Judah that because they had been showered with God's blessings and yet behaved worse then the people around them - a more severe judgment would befall them.

Based on that, I'd have to disagree completely with your grade 12 teacher. Though if the ferrari driver can't keep up with the chevette driver, two things come to mind. First, putting the ferrari driver in the chevette won't help. Second, putting the chevette driver in the ferrari might produce spectacular results though.

Dave, if you want to know how John Paul II approached the "separated brethren" issue, you may find Ut unum Sint helpful.

kris said...

I don't keep in touch with anyone from highschool so I'm not sure if my teacher was right or not, but his point was that when it came to University the smart kid could apply himself and do well, whereas the kid busting his butt in hs probably couldn't keep up once things got more difficult. That's all beside the real point though.

The verse you mentioned did sum up my thoughts fairly well.

By your original post you seem to be saying you'd rather have Abraham as your father than be part of the new thing God is doing. Is that a correct interpretation?

Richard said...

ave, after re-reading my original post I find to my embarrassment that I have used woefully erroneous terminology (which unnecessarily exaggerates the divisions in the Body of Christ) by describing Protestant communities as "other than the one Christ founded". I have no excuse for making such a poor representation of Roman Catholic teachings. Please accept my apology and retraction once again.

The Second Vatican Council refers to Protestants as "separated brethren" - which necessarily means that Protestants do belong to the Church Christ founded. Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) has also said that the terminology used to describe the Reformation cannot be used to accurately describe the communities that trace their roots to the Reformation.

Pope John Paul II referred to the current state of division as a deep wound in the body of Christ though he has said that this wound has left Protestant communities with a "gravely deficient" faith. A parallel Protestant belief might be the view that the Reformation got rid of bad doctrine that the Catholics still cling to today.

It seems like no matter how hard I try to parrot and understand Catholic teachings, I manage to introduce personal errors and innovations.

Kris, I think I was trying to say the opposite of what you thought I said. Let me try again.

Correct lineage and/or doctrine is actually worse than useless on judgment day if one has not put it to good use. (Hence the prophets and Our Lord warning Israel and Judah that they were worse than Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon). Similarly, Catholics who reject salvation by grace, who reject the authority of the Scriptures, who neglect the poor, who fail to attend Mass or Confession regularly, or who deny Transubstantiation do so at great peril to their souls for they have cut themselves off from the riches they have been given.

Catholics with a sleepy faith would even do well to learn from and imitate the Protestant example (e.g. teach people about salvation by grace alone) which, in the driving analogy, would correspond to taking driving lessons from the chevette driver in order to drive better.

Cutting oneself off from the Confessional and the Mass, however, would be as foolish as trading the ferrari for a chevette in an attempt to drive faster. It doesn't help because the problem is with the driver and not the car.