Augustine and the Annoying Orange

Augustine and the Annoying Orange

Often you’ll hear that the difference between Catholics and Calvinists is about the “doctrine of election.” Not true. Both Catholicism and Calvinism affirm that the reason for election is divine grace. Some Calvinists and Catholics believe that there is some sort of trans-world consideration of possibilities involved (Alvin Plantinga on the Reformed side, Fr. William Most on the Catholic side), but there’s no denial on...

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Baptism and Sola Fide

Baptism and Sola Fide

Today Catholics celebrated the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord, and most likely heard a homily on the topic of baptism accompanying the prayers, hymns, and readings that focused on this topic. As I sat in Mass this morning I was thinking about baptism and what a messy topic it was for me as a Reformed Protestant minister. On the one hand we have the teachings of the New Testament — teachings which are quite clear — about how...

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Trinity, Incarnation, and Participation

Trinity, Incarnation, and Participation

In my last post on advent and the Incarnation, I mentioned that the entire Catholic gospel is focused on the ontological participation that the believer enjoys with the holy Trinity, by means of the Eucharistic flesh of Christ, alluding to the oft-quoted idea found in so many of the church fathers that God became man so that man could become God. An objection was raised to this idea due to its alleged inconsistency with monotheism: If there is...

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ECFs vs. WCF, Part 2

ECFs vs. WCF, Part 2

In response to those who have insisted that the dogma of transubstantiation is an illegitimate importation of medieval metaphysics into the teachings of the early church fathers (who denied that the substance of the bread and wine are changed into the very body and blood of Christ), I would adduce the following passages: For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word...

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ECFs vs. WCF

ECFs vs. WCF

Before we go any further in our series on the Eucharist, there’re a couple things I’d like to say. First, enough with the jumping from the theological or exegetical point under discussion to the whole throw-everything-at-the-Catholic-Church-but-the-kitchen-sink tactic, as if an appeal to lesbian nuns discredits the idea that the Eucharist is a sacrifice. Last I checked, guitars have room for more than one string, but if all you want...

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Divide and Dismiss

Divide and Dismiss

I’d like to take a quick break from our series on the atonement and make an observation for the benefit of my Catholic readers. I would suggest that the default posture of confessional Protestantism, particularly the Reformed variety, is one of separation and division. The old school Presbyterian seeks to distinguish himself from all others and insist that he is every bit as much a non-evangelical as he is a non-papist (heck, it’s...

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