Don’t Pity the Fool

Don’t Pity the Fool

Despite having become something of a douche in the past 15 years or so, any honest and knowledgable music fan must admit that one of the best, most talented, and most musically diverse singer/songwriters of the 1980’s was (wait for it, wait for it) . . . Sting, whose Dream of the Blue Turtles  (1985) and Nothing Like the Sun  (1987) were nothing short of brilliant. My favorite song on the latter is “History Will Teach Us...

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On Selective Skepticism

On Selective Skepticism

So after a few posts and several hundred comments, here’s where we are with respect to the Protestant position on the nature of the church: Jesus founded a church that had no visible, laying-on-of-hands apostolic succession and no infallibility, but only an invisible succession of apostolic doctrine which was to be fallibly identified and understood. Now if there had  been a visible episcopal succession that had been protected from error...

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Apostolic Succession: A Minimalist Proposal

Apostolic Succession: A Minimalist Proposal

I would like to move the recent discussion concerning apostolic succession from the “What Difference Does the Vowel Make?” thread to this one (hey, it’s nearing 500 comments and counting). In the interest of narrowing the focus, I would suggest that there are two related questions that need to be asked: (1) What historical circumstances need to have occurred in order to substantiate apostolic succession?, and (2) What...

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Newman on the Development of the Papacy

In chapter 4 of his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, John Henry Cardinal Newman takes up the issue of papal supremacy. Surprisingly, Newman argues that the papal office of Peter “would remain a mere letter, till the complication of ecclesiatical matters became the cause of ascertaining it.” The universal jurisdiction of the first pope, in Newman’s words, “slept.” It was a “mysterious privilege,...

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Newman on the Development of Christian Doctrine History

Anyone even remotely interested in historical theology will be familiar with John Henry Cardinal Newman’s Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, originally published in 1845. Newman’s overall thesis is that when it comes to just about any system of thought, the growth and development of its ideas are to be expected, and Christianity is no exception. Newman argues in Section III that the doctrines of the (Catholic) faith are...

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A Kinder, Gentler Generation of Bishops?

I just came across this quote from the fifth-century bishop of Ruspe, St. Fulgentius: Firmly hold and never doubt that every baptized person outside of the Catholic Church cannot share in eternal life, if before the end of his life he does not return and is incorporated into the Church…. Not only pagans but also all Jews, all heretics and schismatics who finish this life outside of the Catholic Church will go into eternal fire, prepared...

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