Thursday, November 12, 2009
Many of the threads here at Articuli Fidei challenge some of the internet activity that enters into the dark realm of what I have termed, “anti-Catholic mischief.” I define “anti-Catholic mischief” as flawed polemical contributions produced by individuals who believe/maintain that the Catholic Church is not a Christian church (I will never apply the term to one who acknowledges the CC as a Christian Church, no matter how much that individual may disagree with Catholic dogma).
What I find quite interesting is the fact that one of the most vehement critics of the Catholic Church, after years (20+) of polemical attacks, could state the following:
I honor the Roman Church. She is pious, has God’s Word and Baptism, and is holy. (Martin Luther, from his sermon on Matt. 21:42, D. Martin Luther’s Werke, Vol. 47.425* – also known as the Weimar edition; English trans. from What Luther Says, p. 126.)
Luther’s comments brought back to my mind some thoughts penned by one of the most esteemed Reformed theologians American has produced:
Romanism retains the supernatural element of Christianity throughout. Indeed it is a matter of devout thankfulness to God that underneath the numerous grievous and destructive errors of the Romish Church, the great truths of the Gospel are preserved. The Trinity, the true divinity of Christ, the true doctrine concerning his person as God and man in two distinct natures and one person forever; salvation through his blood, regeneration and sanctification through the almighty power of the Spirit, the resurrection of the body, and eternal life, are doctrines on which the people of God in that communion live, and which have produced such saintly men as St. Bernard, Fénélon, and doubtless thousands of others who are of the number of God’s elect. Every true worshipper of Christ must in his heart recognize as a Christian brother, wherever he may be found, any one who loves, worships, and trusts the Lord Jesus Christ as God manifest in the flesh and the only Saviour of men. (Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Vol. III, 1981 Eerdmans reprint, pp. 135, 136 - bold emphasis mine.)
Thanks be to God that a good number of Evangelicals over the course of the last few decades have been able to jettison an anti-Catholic mindset, and enter into constructive dialogue with their Catholic brothers.
Grace and peace,
*A PDF version of D. Martin Luther’s Werke, Vol. 47, can be accessed online HERE.